On May 31, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed Men’s Health Week into law to encourage men to visit the doctor as much as women to close the age of mortality gap. Initially, the bill had been introduced by Senator Bob Dole who survived prostate cancer because it was identified early. Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has expanded it into Men’s Health Month. When the bill was first introduced, on average men died 7 years earlier than women, probably because women visited the doctor more than 150% more often. Now, men die 5 years earlier, on average. While this is an improvement understanding the concerning health differences between men and women sheds light on why there is still a significant age of mortality gap.
For example, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that men drink more excessively than women. Additionally, according to the Maryland Department of Health Vital Statistics Administration men are more than 4 times likely to die by “intentional self-harm.” Finally, data from the Maryland Opioid Overdose Command Center shows that Maryland men are twice as likely to die from an overdose!
This Men’s Health Month we’d like to encourage men to make healthy lifestyle choices that will improve their overall well-being:
- • Get regular checkups and screenings
- • Eat a balanced diet
- • Stay active
- • Limit alcohol consumption
- • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke
- • Manage stress
- • Consider speaking with a therapist