Recognizing June as National Men’s Health Month
Men and women should be proactive about their health. However, some health issues pertain specifically to men. Each June, healthcare organizations around the country recognize Men’s Health Month as a way to encourage men to take care of their health and prevent future illnesses.
National Men’s Health Month can also serve as a helpful nudge for some men who are reluctant to discuss health issues with their medical providers.
Whether you work in public health, are a man, or are a person who loves a man, raising awareness about specific men’s health concerns is a great way to recognize Men’s Health Month this June.
This article will show you how to encourage men to take care of their bodies, prevent disease, and seek medical attention to stay well. Furthermore, supporting men’s health overall can also help men in minority groups stay healthier.
How Can Men Stay Healthy Over the Long Term?
Staying healthy as a man means maximizing one’s longevity and taking steps to avoid the development of disease. This lifelong mission boils down to a few key pillars of healthy living that include exercising, healthy eating, and sleeping enough. And avoiding habits that can impact your long-term health, such as smoking cigarettes or drinking heavily.
Physical Exercise for Men
The first pillar of men’s health is exercising weekly. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Additionally, men should do exercises specifically designed to increase muscle strength (such as bodyweight maneuvers or weight lifting) twice weekly. Avoiding sedentary behaviors, such as prolonged periods of sitting in a chair, can also help men stay physically healthy.
Healthy Eating for Men
The second pillar for men is a healthy eating plan that should be easy to stick to and provide enough variety to be practical. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that men eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, nuts, and seeds. Avoiding foods that are high in added sugar and unhealthy fats is also crucial.
Sleep Recommendations for Men
Beyond exercising and eating right, a third essential pillar for supporting men’s health is sleep. During sleep, several recovery processes kick into high gear. Sleep is a time when your brain rests and stores information, preparing for the next awake period.
Sleep is also a time for your muscles and other cells to rest, repair, and regenerate. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that men (and all adults ages 18- 64) get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Other Ways Men Can Improve Health
Many other factors play into optimizing men’s health. Avoidance of known health threats (such as cigarettes and heavy drinking) is a big key to better health. Developing and nurturing social connections help men stay active too. Men who are more involved socially and within the community may be more motivated to follow healthy living patterns that can optimize their wellness.
What Are Specific Issues That Impact Men’s Health?
Men are often reluctant to seek medical care, even when a health concern is getting in the way of daily life. An important part of raising awareness about Men’s Health Month is addressing this reluctance and encouraging men to get routine healthcare such as annual physical exams. It’s also essential to seek consultation when they have a specific health concern instead of simply waiting and hoping a problem will go away on its own.
Specific health concerns pertaining to men include:
- Fluctuating levels of testosterone
- Conditions of the prostate
- Conditions of the penis and testes
- Concerns with sexual performance and function
Men in minority groups may face additional hurdles when addressing their health concerns. For example, according to statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), men of Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander descent are less likely to have good communication with their physicians compared to men of other backgrounds.
Poor communication can have a significant impact on one’s health and, unfortunately, can negatively impact health outcomes. For example, it is estimated by the HHS that American Indian/Alaskan Native men have a 47 percent higher incidence of death when compared to non-Hispanic white men.
How to Learn More About National Men’s Health Month
Spreading awareness about National Men’s Health Month is all about encouraging good habits and emphasizing the importance of disease prevention. To learn more about getting involved in Men’s Health Month, check out this helpful page from the HHS.
Research and materials for this article were compiled, written, and distributed on behalf of the National Public Health Information Coalition. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the various authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Public Health Information Coalition or its members.