Men apparently don’t do enough to look after their health. Why?
Did you know? It’s men’s health week. Apparently 40% of men die before they reach 75 because they don’t do enough to look after themselves.
There are a lot of stats showing how men can fail to take notice of their health and wellbeing. Men visit their GP half as often as women. Men are less likely than women to have received treatment for mental health problems. And 22% of men in England and Wales die before they reach 64 compared with 13% of women.
So the big question is, why? Is it because men feel less comfortable admitting to illness, and so think they should battle on without help? Do they feel it is a sign of weakness to visit their GP?
Is it because men struggle more with being ‘told what to do’ compared with women? Or is it because men ignore and don’t want to think about the risks? I’m sure it’s not because they don’t care.
I know it took a heart attack to make my dad reconsider his lifestyle. It shocked him into action. And now he eats healthily, visits the gym, cycles and has lost the paunch too. I bought him a Mr Motivator DVD for Christmas. He liked it. But then again, I don’t know how much of this is due to the influence of my mum. Or maybe I should give him more credit.
So why are men notoriously difficult to engage with their health and wellbeing? Maybe it is because there is no immediate motivator. Women are pressured to adhere to a beautiful, slim template – which can be achieved through a healthy lifestyle. Men, not so much.
What will make men engage with looking after their health? Increased promotion of the risks? One idea, tried out by the Men’s Health Forum, is to attempt to make men engage with their health online rather than face-to-face. Maybe it will work, 37% of men used the internet for health information in 2009, more than the 31% who used it in 2008.
What do you think? What’s your experience? Does it match the stats?