The reasons for the poor state of men’s health in the US and around the world are numerous and complex, primarily due to a lack of awareness of the health issues men face. This can largely be attributed to the reluctance of men to openly discussing the subject due to longstanding traditions, coupled with an ‘it’ll be alright’ attitude. Men are less likely to schedule doctor appointments when they feel ill or for an annual physical, thereby denying themselves the chance of early detection and effective treatment of common diseases.
Studies show that many men don’t get regular health checks for the following reasons:
- Fear it will lead to a hospital visit
- Embarrassed to discuss their health issues
- Find it too hard to see a doctor because they just can’t fit it into their schedule
- Just can’t be bothered making an appointment
Statistics show that, on average, men die at a younger age than women – the average life expectancy for men is five years fewer than women (presently 77 compared to 82). That said, despite trailing the women’s health movement, things are beginning to change, but much more progress needs to be made to close the gap between the state of men's and women’s health. Established taboos and barriers relating to men’s health are gradually being broken down.
- Percent of men 18 years and over in fair or poor health: 11.9%
Health risk factors
- Percent of men 18 years and over who met the 2008 federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity through leisure-time aerobic activity: 52.3%
- Percent of men 18 years and over who currently smoke: 21.5%
- Percent of men 18 years and over who had 5 or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year: 31.2%
- Percent 20 years and over who are obese: 33.9% (2007-2010)
- Percent 20 years and over with hypertension: 31.7% (2007-2010)
Health insurance coverage
- Percent of males under 65 years without health insurance coverage: 18.9%
- Number of deaths (all ages): 1,217,379
- Deaths per 100,000 population: 803.8
- Leading causes of death
- Heart disease
- Accidents (unintentional injuries)
Compared to women, men...
- have higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death (except alzheimer's disease) and die more than five years younger.
- represent 50% of the work force, yet account for 94% of all on-the-job fatalities.
- know less about health and take less responsibility for it.
- are less likely to see themselves as ill or susceptible to disease or injury when they are more susceptible.
Facts and Figures
- 24% of men are less likely to go to the doctor compared to women. The average life expectancy for men is five years fewer than women (presently 77 years old compared to 82).
- 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
- Evidence suggests that about a third of the 571,950 cancer deaths expected to occur will be related to obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.
- 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.
- In 2012, 242,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and more than 28,000 men will die of prostate cancer.
- Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.
- 8,590 men will be diagnosed with the disease and 360 will die.
- 1 in every 13 men will develop lung cancer.
- While not as common, men can get breast cancer. About 2,140 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among men and about 450 men will die from the disease.
- More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the US.
- An estimated 13 million or 11.8% of all adult men over the age of 20 in the US have diabetes.
- Approximately 76.4 million men and women in the US have high blood pressure- 1 in 5 do not know it.
- About 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure, and blood pressure tends to rise with age.
- Researchers estimate that at least 6 million men in the United States suffer from a depressive disorder every year.
- Four times as many men commit suicide compared with women.
- 6 million people die every year from tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. One person dies every six seconds.