Every June Men’s Health Network (MHN), along with hundreds of partners across the country and the world, celebrates Men’s Health Month as a time to raise awareness of male health issues and encourage men and their families to seek preventive care. The centerpiece of the month-long celebration is Men’s Health Week, which takes place during the week leading up to and including Father’s Day (June 11-17 of this year). Men’s Health Week was created by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1994.
This awareness period is an excellent time to recognize the importance of men’s health – not only for each individual man, but also for the impact that men’s health has on families and our society as a whole. Men in the United States die an average of five years earlier than women, die at higher rates for 9 of the top 10 causes of death, and tend to live sicker as well. The impact is significant for women: the U.S. Administration on Aging has reported that “more than half of women now living in poverty were not poor before the death of their husbands.”
With the recognition of Father’s Day, we are particularly reminded of the impact that men have on the lives of their children. Men who take care of their health with a good diet, regular exercise, and preventive screenings and doctor visits serve as role models for their kids’ health habits and are more likely to be around for all those important moments like graduations, birthdays and weddings. Being a father can also have its own health benefits when men commit to better habits so that they can live life more fully with their children.
During June and throughout the year, faith communities, government agencies, employers and local organizations are holding events such as free health screenings and presentations about important men’s health topics. Cookouts, races and guys’ nights out are also planned to encourage men to take better care of themselves. For more information on Men’s Health Month, including ideas for what you can do, please check out the Men’s Health Month website at http://www.menshealthmonth.org/.
Men’s Health Network is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to reach men, boys and their families where they live, work, play and pray with health prevention messages and tools, screening programs, educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and patient navigation. MHN participates in the annual Head Start conference and works in partnership with the NHSA to promote the involvement and health of fathers.