When was the last time your Dad shared a new healthy recipe he’s tried? Or when was the last time your guy friend asked you to join him on a bike ride?
Most people have a genuine desire to be healthy, but not everyone is so open to admit it.
When it comes to health, there’s often a misconception that asking for help is a sign of weakness, or inadequacy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
June is Men’s Health Month. It’s a time to recognize the unique qualities men bring to the table, and inspire them to take care of themselves by eating well, exercising, and preventing the onset of disease.
In this article we’ll uncover some of the biggest health risks men face, as well as some things you can do to actively encourage and promote men’s health.
Biggest Health Risks Among Men
When it comes to the physical body, men and women share a lot of similarities: veins are veins, lungs are lungs… you get the idea.
But statistics share some interesting numbers when it comes to men’s health.
In addition to shorter lifespans than women (1), some of the most common causes of death for men in the United States include:
- Heart attacks: Research shows that men are twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks as women (2). This can be due to a number of factors, such as how cholesterol builds up in the blood vessels, low testosterone, stress, and anger (3).
- Cancer: While cancer seems to be increasing disease all around the globe, men seem to get it more often than women. While certain diet and lifestyle factors could contribute to risk, there seems to be six specific genes within the X chromosome in males that mutate more often than in women (4).
- Mental health conditions: Because culture or society tells men that emotions are a feminine quality, many men don’t talk about mental health issues. Nevertheless, men experience bouts of depression, anxiety, and battle suicidal thoughts (5).
- Unintentional injury: No risk, no reward, right? If you’re a man, chances are you’ve been dared to do something risky at least once in your life. Whether it was diving into a deep body of water, reckless driving, doing parkour off a rail, or something completely different, certain actions increase a man’s risk for injury. Unintentional injuries are the 4th leading cause for death in the United States (9). Sometimes they’re work-related injuries, and other times it’s recreational. Substance overdose can fall into this category, as well.
Ways to Celebrate
There are plenty of reasons to be cautious when it comes to your health, so what are some ways you can practically honor Men’s Health Month?
Host a Meal: Eating healthy is never out of style! Planning a delicious, nutritious meal can bring out the creative side in the men in your life. Try experimenting with foods from other countries, including colorful fruits or vegetables that look odd. Herbs and spices can also make any dish lively and flavorful.
Support healthy relationships: Guys needs friends, too! Encouraging positive social interactions (ie. playing golf, fishing trips, mission trips, community mentorship programs, etc.) can help foster healthy social relationships. Doing this regularly can help reduce mental health issues.
Focus on lowering stress: No doubt, stress is one of the biggest contributors to bringing on disease and illness. Statistics show men tend to have a harder time handling stress than women (6). Part of this could be the idea that men need to be strong and hold it all together.
Giving the men in your life healthy ways to handle stress (exercise, connecting with others, prayer, mediation, getting enough sleep, etc) can help lower the risk of developing mental illness or physical diseases.
Be aware of negative or risky behaviors: As wonderful as eating healthy and getting enough exercise is, sometimes the negative options are more convenient. Negative ways of coping with stress can include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, gambling, promiscuity, or illegal drug use. Smoking has been linked to heart disease, cancer, strokes, and COPD (7), and alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage (8).
Learning the signs and taking appropriate interventions can help the guys in your life keep illness and negative health consequences at bay.
Bringing It All Together
Men and women are designed differently, yet we both share common needs. Health and wellness is one such need.
June is Men’s Health Month. It’s a chance to celebrate the men in your life, as well as encourage them to prioritize their health by eating well, managing stress in a positive way, cultivating healthy relationships, and staying away from dangerous behaviors.
If you’re a man reading this, this month is for you! Consider trying some of these ideas to celebrate Men’s Health Month. Who knows, you may discover a new favorite food, or a relaxing walking trail nearby.
And if you’re a woman reading this, why not share this with the guys in your life? They’re sure to appreciate the thoughtfulness!
References & Disclaimer
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author