As June moves forward, let’s not forget about Men’s Health Month. This month-long effort is meant to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
A Call to Action
According to Harvard Health, men, on average, pay less attention to their personal health than women. Studies have showed that men are less likely to seek healthcare and make regular appointments for exams and screenings.
Nonetheless, the majority of diseases and health conditions can happen to both men and women. Men also have unique health needs such as those related to the prostate. However, it is equally important for men and women to take their health seriously and be proactive, which includes keeping a close eye on your weight and managing it with a healthcare provider.
Men’s Health and Weight Management
As it is with women, obesity is associated with more than 50 health conditions that are chronic by nature and often difficult to manage, especially without help.
Some of these conditions include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Some cancers
Leading a healthy lifestyle and seeing a doctor regularly can help men and boys reduce their risk for weight-related health conditions. In fact, total body weight-loss as little as 5-10 percent can make a tremendous difference and drastically improve health. This is often seen in increased energy levels, a happier mood and lower blood pressure and cholesterol readings.
Stigma and Gender
Why are men, on average, less likely to work with a healthcare provider to manage weight? There are likely many factors involved, but a lot of it has to do with weight stigma and society’s messages about size.
This is what the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) says:
“Research suggests that women, especially those who are middle-aged or with lower levels of education, experience weight discrimination at significantly higher rates than male peers. Moreover, women report discrimination at lower levels of excess weight than men.”
Other studies show similar findings, which might suggest that men experience less social pressure about their weight and feel less obligated to seek help. Still, whether you seek help or not, men’s health risks of obesity remain the same – and in many cases will even increase.
Empower Someone during Men’s Health Month!
If you or someone you know is struggling with their weight and reluctant about seeking help, encourage them to take the Your Weight Matters Challenge!