Can Marriage Make You Healthier? Could Be

As those of us who work in men’s health know, one of the biggest obstacles keeping men from being as healthy as they could be is their overall reluctance to see a medical professional, whether that’s for regular, preventive care, or for an actual problem. When asked why they’re so resistant, men have a lot of reasons: not wanting to ask for help or be seen as weak, hoping the problem will go away on its own or simply not wanting to know, not having insurance or not being able pay, and a general feeling that healthcare is a women’s issue. According to a recent study, we can now add one more: not being married.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), married men—regardless of their age—are more likely than single men or guys living with a partner to have had their cholesterol or blood pressure checked or undergone other preventive screenings within the previous year. Interestingly, single men are more likely to see a doctor regularly than co-habitating men.

There’s a lot of research about how having a committed partner helps men take better care of themselves. In part, that’s because those partners—most of whom are women—are used to taking charge of their own healthcare and they’re willing to do the same for the men they love. At the same time, men will take better care of themselves (meaning they’re more likely to eat right, exercise, and have regular contact with a healthcare professional) when they feel that they need to be around to care for their loved ones.

No one is quite sure why there’s such a difference between married and co-habitating men, but there’s some speculation that it could be that married couples see a longer future together than non-married couples and that could encourage them to stay healthier.

“Overall, about 71 percent said they’d been to the doctor at least once during the past year. For married men, the number was 76 percent, the study found. It fell to 65 percent for single men and 60 percent for men who lived with a partner,” according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

The NCHS data also showed that “when insurance was taken into account, about 82 percent of insured married men had seen a doctor within the past 12 months versus three-quarters of single men and 71 percent of cohabiting men.”

Interestingly, though, the differences between single, married, and co-habiting women are very small. According to the researchers, women don’t rely on the men in their lives to keep them health. Instead, they tend to rely on their sisters, mothers, and/or female friends.

Armin Brott

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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, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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