To Your Health: Men's Health
A survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that 55% of men surveyed had not seen their doctor for a physical exam in the previous year, even though 40% of them had at least one chronic condition. Maybe this is one reason why American men’s life expectancy is five years shorter than American women’s.
In many societies, men generally enjoy more opportunities, privileges, and power than women, yet these multiple advantages do not translate into better health outcomes. According to the WHO review of the social determinants of health, men’s poorer survival rates “reflect several factors – greater levels of occupational exposure to physical and chemical hazards, behaviors associated with male norms of risk-taking and adventure, health behavior paradigms related to masculinity, and the fact that men are less likely to visit a doctor when they are ill.”
This hesitancy to seek medical help doesn’t just apply to physical illness, but mental illness as well. Suicide rates are also significantly higher in men according to an article in the Psychology of Men and Masculinities.
A study in The International Journal of Men’s Health found that men were more likely to seek preventive care if they received a postcard designed to use the influence of female loved ones living in the home. The postcard was addressed to "Someone who loves" and then the male’s name and listed the recommended screenings by age.
Holland, D. J., Bradley, D. W., & Khoury, J. M. (2005). Sending men the message about preventive care: an evaluation of communication strategies. International Journal of Men’s Health, 2, 97.
Whittle, E. L., Fogarty, A. S., Tugendrajch, S., Player, M. J., Christensen, H., Wilhelm, K., Hadzi-Pavlovic, D., & Proudfoot, J. (2015). Men, Depression, and Coping: Are We on the Right Path? Psychology of Men & Masculinities, 16(4), 426–438.
Recorded at home with Eli Hildebrand Clubbs engineering; edited at KRCU Studios by Dan Woods