June is Men’s Health Awareness month. The aim is to encourage healthy life habits on boys and men, including exercising, eating healthy, visiting a doctor regularly, etc. “Currently, men are dying an average of 5 years younger than women and lead 9 out of 10 of the top causes of death” (menshealthmonth.org). Why is this? Why are men, as a whole, more likely to live shorter lives?
There are many factors that play into this. First of all, men are bigger risk takers, which can be a nice way of saying, they can be reckless. This is due to the fact that male’s frontal lobe of the brain develops slower than female’s, causing them to make impulse decisions without thinking things through fully (Shmerling, 2016). This is part of the reason men die in more accidents than women.
Additionally, men have more dangerous jobs, avoid doctors, and are less social than women (Shmerling, 2016). Not only do they see a physician less often than women, but men are also more likely to be uninsured as well (menshealthmonth.org). So, when they are sick, or injured, or need a procedure done, they are less likely to get the medicine, operation, or care they need, therefore leading to further complications. In addition, although there is no concrete evidence of why those who are less social tend to die earlier, it may be assumed that as social beings, we need connection in order to survive - literally. Therefore, it is not too surprising that those without this stimulation die a bit earlier than their counterparts.
This doesn’t just include physical health either - mental health, as we all know, is just as important (if not more-so), and this also needs to be emphasized specifically to men. According to menshealthmonth.org, “men have a higher suicide death rate than women [and] account for 92% of fatal workplace injuries.” This, some may find surprising, as depression is most societally linked to females. However, women are more likely to seek therapy, medication, etc. to help cope with depression, whereas men are less likely to seek treatment.
Over the last 20 years, progress has been made since Congress recognized National Men’s Health Week (menshealthmonth.org), which has spread awareness across the nation. According to menshealthlibrary.com, “in 1994 there was a 6.6 year gap between the life expectancy of men and women, and by 2010, men and women both are living longer, and the gap had narrowed to 4.8 years.” With more awareness on men’s health and how they can improve it, there is hope that this gap will continue to narrow. For more information on men’s health, check out the links below!