The month of June is bookended by two holidays stereotypically loved by men – Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Consider that both Father’s Day and the official start of summer are both found in the middle of the month, and it makes sense that right now is a time when men feel at their best. As such, June is also home to “Men’s Health Week” this year from the 15th through the 21st. Despite the importance of various health issues to a man’s ability to enjoy summer, men are much less likely to seek help for physical and emotional stresses than women.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American women are 100 percent more likely than men to visit a healthcare provider for annual examinations and for preventative services. Meanwhile, 24 percent of those men smoke, versus 18 percent of women. The number of overweight males over age 20 tops 72 percent, while females total 62 percent. Undiagnosed depression contributes to the fact that men are four times as likely to commit suicide as women. The CDC notes that women are more likely to have a usual source of care and more often use medical care for screening and health education than men. In short, males have just as much of a need to take care of their health as females, and yet they continue to make harmful lifestyle choices while failing to seek help.
Further, men’s health actually is a women’s issue. According to the Men’s Health Network, the 2000 Census revealed a connection between male health and female poverty rates. The Census showed that 14 percent of women who marry men their own age enter retirement as widows, a classification that often correlates with loss of income and increasing debt. Maintaining men’s physical and emotional health can protect the entire family.
The Men’s Health Network invites families to talk about men’s fitness and wellbeing this month in order to spread information about preventable health problems and encourage early detection. Consider giving a Father’s Day card with a prostate cancer screening appointment as a gift, plan fitness activities that you can do as a family, or make an appointment for couples or family therapy to help get your conversation going.
For more information about Men’s Health Week, visit http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/