Men die five to seven years earlier than women. 57% of the population aged 65 and older are female. By 85, 67% are women (Harvard Health Publishing, 2016).
Why is this?
One of the main reasons is that men are more reluctant than women to go to the doctor, and women tend to get themselves checked out around twice as much as their male counterparts (Men’s Health Month, 2022). Chronic conditions are made worse by health risk behaviours, including lack of exercise, poor nutrition, using tobacco, and drinking too much alcohol (Aging Research, 2016).
Men’s Health Forum, 2022
According to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common and largely preventable health issues that men face include:
- Chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and arthritis
- For men particularly, the two most common causes of death are heart disease and cancer — followed by unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, influenza and pneumonia, and kidney disease.
(Aging Research, 2016)
So, what can we do?
June is International Men’s Health Month; during this time, we aim to bring awareness to the variety of health issues men face and raise awareness of preventable health problems. Early detection, treatment and openness about men’s health are paramount.
This month’s theme is ‘Building Healthy Environments for Men and Boys’ – focusing on creating physically, mentally and emotionally healthy environments in the home, workplace and social settings (Men’s Health Month, 2022). To help us work on the health of the men in our community, we are encouraging you not just to wear blue this June but to actively combat health issues from aging with the men in your life. It is imperative that we encourage males to:
- Visit the doctor regularly and become familiar with screening processes for preventable diseases. It may be uncomfortable, but there is no shame in seeking medical assistance.
- Exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet with plenty of protein, fruits & vegetables, and water.
- Limit risk behaviours in your lifestyle such as drinking excessively, smoking or eating poorly.
- Take care of your bones, strength and balance with functional and safe programs such as OsteoStrong as part of your routine. A single 1:1 session each week goes a long way to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, accidents, falls and fractures in the future.
As we get older, it is more important than ever to ensure we take care of the bodies that keep us moving. Increasing strength, flexibility and muscle strength will not only help us see a physical change but a mental and emotional change too, which will inevitably help us live longer, healthier lives.
This Men’s Health Month, take action for the men in your life and together, we can help close the life expectancy gap.
Aging Research, 2016. Healthy aging for men. Retrieved from: https://www.agingresearch.org/blog/healthy-aging-for-men/#:~:text=Older%20men%20may%20also%20experience,depression%2C%20and%20loss%20of%20bone%2C
Harvard Health, 2022. Why men often die earlier than women. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-men-often-die-earlier-than-women-201602199137
Men’s Health Forum, 2016. Key Data Men’s Life Expectancy. Retrieved from: https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/key-data-mens-life-expectancy
Men’s Health Month, 2022. Men’s Health Month. Retrieved from: www.menshealthmonth.org
Unity HealthCare, 2022. Men’s health month bringing awareness to men’s health issues. Retrieved from: https://www.unicityhealthcare.com/mens-health-month-bringing-awareness-mens-health-issues-month-june/