“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Unfortunately, this old adage may not be actively taken to heart for a large part of the U.S. population – Men.
In the U.S., men have higher rates for many of the leading causes of death, including heart disease and diabetes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). Unfortunately, men are more likely to not have healthcare coverage compared to women and typically visit the doctor far less frequently for preventive visits(U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). These and many other factors have contributed to the increase in the life expectancy gender gap, which has risen from one to approximately five years between 1920 and 2010 (CDC, 2012).
Additionally, men continue to have high rates of obesity across most age groups and a higher rate of smoking when compared to women, both of which are major factors in chronic disease risk (CDC, 2015 & CDC, 2016 ). Both of these dangerous risk factors are preventable.
Each June, campaigns for Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Week are launched to raise awareness around preventable health issues and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among males. These campaigns have proven to be quite successful over the years and it’s important to keep that momentum going. There are many great resources available on the campaign website, including downloadable logos, posters and flyers, fact sheets and a library of resources.
Want to show your support? One simple way is toparticipate in Wear Blue Day. Held each Friday of Men’s Health Week, Wear Blue Day is a product of the Wear Blue campaign, which aims to raise awareness and resources for men’s health issues and the need for men to take action and participate in regular health check-ups, utilize preventive services, and more. This year, Wear Blue Day will be held on Friday, June 17.
During June, take the time to encourage the men and boys in your life to take their health seriously. With some effort and understanding, we can help raise awareness around the importance of prevention and empower men to take control of their health so that they can live longer, happier lives.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2012). Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010. National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 60, 4. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_04.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). National Center for Health Statistics: Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2011-2014. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db219.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Deaths, Percent of Total Deaths, and Death Rates for the 15 Leading causes of Death in 5-Year Age Groups, by Race and Sec: United States, 1999-2014. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/lcwk1_2014.pdf
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Smoking and Tobacco Use: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/index.htm#national
U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey. HIA-1, 2009.
Pictures courtesy of Men’s Health Month and The Men’s Health Network