Dedicated Men’s Health Programs Can Reach Reluctant Consumers
by Kris Rusch
“When it comes to health,” asserts an article in Harvard Men’s Health Watch, “males are the weaker sex throughout life.” Compared with women, men on average have more chronic illnesses, die at higher rates from diseases, and have a lower life expectancy.
Men also take more risks with their health. They use tobacco and alcohol more than women do and engage in dangerous work and leisure activities, and they also tend to have more stress. Nevertheless, data continues to show that women use medical services more than men do – even when controlled for services related to pregnancy and childbirth. Despite their need for regular health care, men see a doctor for preventive care at only about half the rate of women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, reports that roughly one in four men have no usual source of health care, compared with about one in 10 women.
In the 1960s, a national conversation on the need for targeted medical research and improved health care designed especially for women resulted in the creation of medical facilities that expressly catered to women. Facilities specializing in women’s health are now commonplace in the United States, while facilities devoted exclusively to men are few.
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