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Give dad the blues

The goal of Men’s Health Week is to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” As part of the annual observance, the Men’s Health Network is asking people to wear blue Friday, June 17, 2016, to increase awareness of men’s health issues. (Courtesy graphic)

The goal of Men’s Health Week is to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” As part of the annual observance, the Men’s Health Network is asking people to wear blue Friday, June 17, 2016, to increase awareness of men’s health issues. (Courtesy graphic)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

The Men’s Health Network is encouraging people to give the men in their lives the “blues” just before Father’s Day by celebrating Wear Blue Friday, June 17, as part of National Men’s Health Week.

The week-long observance, celebrated annually for 22 years in the week leading up to and including Father’s Day, encourages people of both sexes to recognize the potential health issues men face.

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue,” Congressman Bill Richardson said in 1994. “Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”

One of the primary objectives behind Men’s Health Week is to encourage men and boys to seek early detection and treatment for disease.

“Although heart disease is the leading killer for both men and women, almost twice as many males die due to heart related conditions,” said Tiffany Brunton, 21st Medical Squadron dietician. “Typically, the diseases result from a lack of health care monitoring early in life.”

Women are 33 percent more likely to visit a doctor than men, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The lack of early screening is a major contributing factor for why men succumb to heart disease, cancer and stroke at a higher rate than women.

According to menshealthmonth.org, Men’s Health Week “gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.”

The website lists several activities businesses and government organizations scheduled to help bring awareness to men’s health issues including free screenings, health fairs, walks/races and question-and-answer sessions with medical professionals.

The CDC lists the leading causes of death for men as heart disease, cancer (lung, prostate and colon are the top three), unintentional injuries (poisoning, car accidents, etc.), lower respiratory disease and diabetes. The American Heart Association lists increasing age, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes as the major risk factors for heart disease, stroke and cancer.

“A high calorie, high sugar, pro-inflammatory diet can promote chronic diseases and prove an important link to the development of prostate cancer,” Brunton said. “Weight loss of five percent has been shown to decrease markers of inflammation by 30 percent in obese diabetic patients and helps reduce insulin by 20 percent in non-diabetic people. Weight held in the mid-section, whether you’re overweight or at a healthy weight, is a high risk factor for cancer.”

In addition to regular visits to their doctor, there are other steps men can take to decrease their risk for chronic health issues.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends men “don’t smoke; eat a healthy diet including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein such as fish, chicken, turkey and loin cuts of beef and pork; maintain a healthy weight and waist circumference; include physical activity in their daily routine; limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day; and manage stress.”

Practicing sound risk management strategies, such as the 50th Space Wing Safety Office’s “GPS-Gear, Plan, Skills” effort, can help reduce incidents of unintentional injury.

For more information about Men’s Health Week, visit www.menshealthmonth.org/week.

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