MaryWade Triplett

Adopt healthier habits for Men’s Health Month

The statistics surrounding men’s health can be daunting. On average, men live five years fewer than women. They also have a higher death rate for most of the leading causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and suicide. One in two men will develop cancer in their lifetimes.

To top it off, men aren’t always diligent about going to see a doctor for regular checkups. Women visit a physician twice as much as men.

June is Men’s Health Month sponsored by the Men’s Health Network. The main goal of the observance is to change those statistics.

And that’s where you come in.

If you are a man, when was the last time you visited a doctor? Even if you feel fine, periodic physical exams give you a baseline so you and your doctor can monitor your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as changes you could make to improve your health as you get older.

If you’re a woman, consider giving the men in your life — husband, father, sons, brothers, friends — a nudge to see a doctor and, if applicable, to make better choices when it comes to diet and exercise.

Women tend to pay more attention to their health and their increased likelihood of seeing a doctor can put them in a good position to advise the men in their lives to do the same.

The Men’s Health Network tells the story of a woman named Ashley who had to convince her husband, who was having chest pains, to go to the hospital. When he finally listened, he was surprised to find out that he had an advanced heart attack.

For partners or relatives who must do some convincing, here is advice that might help:

Find health providers who have weekend and evening appointments.

Schedule simultaneous appointments for both of you and plan to do something together afterwards.

Recruit male friends or relatives with good health habits to help reinforce the message.

Point out the connection between good health and good physical and mental performance in sports, work, stamina, etc.

Point out that his children will be influenced by the example he sets — and that there’s a better chance that he will be around longer to see their milestones if he takes better care of himself.

Find ways to exercise that are enjoyable to both of you. You can spend more time together, too.

Monongalia County Health Department can help, too. Our Clinical Services program offers both routine vaccinations as well as those you might need when traveling abroad.

The Environmental Health program offers radon testing. Monongalia County is known to have higher levels of this poisonous gas than some other areas, so it’s important to get your home checked out.

National Women’s Health Week, presented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, encompasses Mother’s Day. Likewise, Men’s Health Month takes advantage of the upcoming

Father’s Day holiday to provide one more way to celebrate the men in our lives. That’s why Wear Blue Friday for men’s health is on June 15, two days before Father’s Day.

So, don blue on Friday. If you’re a man, make an appointment to see a doctor. And if there are men in your life you care about, let them know how much they mean to you by encouraging them to adopt healthier habits.