A Tale of Five Men’s Health Septembers

Dear Healthy Men: I know that Men’s Health Month was a few months ago, but shouldn’t we be paying attention to men’s health all year ‘round?

A: Absolutely! That’s what we try to do here at Healthy Men—and it’s actually pretty easy. There are health-related awareness periods every month (Men’s Health Month, which you mentioned, is June), and each one presents a great opportunity for boys, men, and those who love them to pay attention to men’s health. Let’s look at a few of the awareness periods in September.

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Nationwide, boys are more likely than girls to be overweight or obese (20.5% vs. 18%), and things get worse as they get older. Overall, 30.7% of American adults are overweight, but 34% of men and 27.5% of women. Forty-two point four percent adults qualify as obese, but again, men are more likely than women to be (43% of men vs 41.9% of women, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Suicide Awareness Month. Despite everything we hear about gun violence, in the US, there are twice as many deaths by suicide as murders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/). Overall, males are 3.88 times more likely than females to commit suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (https://afsp.org/). That disparity is fairly consistent across races, but the suicide rate is highest among middle-aged white men, and white males accounted for 69.68% of suicides in 2020.  The suicide rate also varies by age group. Among 10-14 year-olds, male suicide victims outnumber females 1.8 to 1. Among 24-54 year-olds, males outnumber females 3.9 to 1. And among those over 75, the male-to-female inequity rises to over 10 to 1.

Healthy Aging Awareness Month. You’d think the challenges of growing older would apply equally to men and women, but again, the numbers tell a sad story. While females account for about 51% of the US population, until age 50, there are actually more males than females. After age 50, it’s bad news for guys. There are 5% more 60-year-old women than men. By age 70, there are 15% more women than men, and by 80, there are 30% more women than men. Among 90-year-olds, women outnumber men two to one, and that number jumps to four to one among centenarians (those 100 or older), according to Statistic Times (https://statisticstimes.com/)

Prostate Health Month. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among American men (after skin cancer), according to the American Cancer Society (ACS, https://www.cancer.org/). ACS estimates that in 2022, 268,490 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 34,500 men will die. As with most conditions, catching the disease early greatly increases the survival rate.

Self-Improvement Month. According to the CDC, half of men’s premature deaths each year could be prevented through changes in personal health habits. And the first change men (and boys) need to make is to start having regular contact with a healthcare provider. As we’ve discussed in this column before, compared to women, men are half as likely to visit a doctor, get recommended screenings, receive routine preventive care, or seek out care early in the disease process. And as we’ve seen with COVID< although men and women are equally likely to be diagnosed, men are roughly twice as likely as women to be hospitalized and to die of the disease.

You’ll find a similar variety of health-related awareness periods that easily apply to men every month of the year.

Photo by Blessing Ri on Unsplash

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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