[r63] Messmer Report: Making prevention a priority for menís health, and their families

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, June 15, 2012

Since 1994, June has been recognized as Men’s Health Month, and I think it’s important to remind ourselves to take a moment to consider our health for our own benefit, as well as for the benefit of our families. 

Overall, the purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease. There are startling statistics on men’s health across the nation. Some of this is because men do not visit the doctor for annual exams. In fact, women are significantly more likely to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventative services than men are. This has partially led to women, on average, living six years longer than men. In 1920, women only lived, on average, one year longer than men.

Also, men are four times more likely to have severe depression that leads to suicide, and one in two men are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, compared to one in three women.

These are sad truths, but with some work I know American men can improve their chances for living a longer and healthier life. There are some basic steps we can all take to improve our health and wellness, including eating healthy foods. Start by taking small steps like saying no to super-sizing meals and saying yes to a healthy breakfast. Also, eat many different types of foods to get all the vitamins and minerals you need.

Next, get moving. Play with your kids or grandkids. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Play a sport. Keep comfortable walking shoes handy at work and in the car. Most importantly, choose activities that you enjoy to stay motivated. I like to get outside and do yard work and work in the garden, go hiking with my kids or take a walk with my wife.

Finally, make prevention a priority. Many health conditions can be prevented or detected early with regular checkups from your local healthcare provider. Regular screenings may include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, prostate health and more.

Men’s health is not just a man’s issue. Our health impacts our families; our wives, parents, children and friends. We should all take the time to make our health and wellness a priority, and visit our doctor annually for preventative check-ups.

More information on improving men’s health can be found at www.menshealthmonth.org. I hope everyone had a very enjoyable and happy Father’s Day. Thank you for your continued support.