Health Experts Issue a Wake-Up Call on Men's Health

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on men's health research.

On April 5, 2002, Men's Health America wrote a letter to the American Journal of Public Health, pointing out that while the journal had published 14 theme issues on women's/maternal health, it had published no theme issues on men's health. This letter was posted on the MHA website: groups.yahoo.com/group/menshealth/message/510 In addition, many MHA members sent messages of concern and dismay.

One year later, that effort has finally paid off.

As a result of MHA efforts, the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health features a theme issue on men's health. To publicize these sex-based disparities, the American Public Health Association held a news conference on April 29.

This is a historic event in the development of men's health. We invite you to thank the American Public Health Association for this publication.

Speak Out: media.relations@apha.org

Wide Health Gender Gaps Point to Need for Action, Research


Former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Louis W. Sullivan joined a group of leading medical experts and others in issuing a national wake up call about a "silent health crisis" affecting men, as detailed in a special edition of the American Journal of Public Health to be published tomorrow.

"It is time to awaken the nation to the fact that the current health state of men, especially men of color, is hazardous to the nation's long-term health," Sullivan said.

Sullivan spoke at a news conference here joined by Dr. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association and other medial experts as well as actor, author Robert Guillaume and NBA basketball star Alonzo Mourning. Both Guillaume and Mourning spoke of their own poor health experiences as a way to call attention to problems and obstacles faced by men in gaining access to quality care.

Census Bureau and other health data point to wide disparities in men's health, the experts warned. American men die almost five years before women, with African American men almost 12 years sooner when compared to white women.

"We can and must boost the health and longevity of men by focusing efforts where the gaps are the widest," Benjamin noted. "We must use strategies that benefit the whole nation by raising the bar for men, not lowering it for women."

The researchers cited a range of statistics that point to limited access to health care for men of color, coupled with poorer health outcomes. While 17 percent of white men are uninsured, 28 percent of black men and 46 percent of Hispanic men have no health insurance. Wide gaps in health and diseases exist. For example, 40 percent of African-American men and 37 percent of Latino men with heart disease die prematurely, nearly double the rate for white men. Among men ages 20 to 74 years old, 35 percent of African Americans had hypertension compared with 25 percent of all men, research in the Journal states.

"While we have made considerable advances over the past several decades, men of color continue to struggle against oppression and discrimination," wrote former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher in the Journal. "In terms of health, this means greater barriers to care, poorer quality care, and even poorer health outcomes." Satcher now directs the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

"Men often suffer in silence when it comes to their health, this is especially true of men of color," said Guillaume. "We need to understand and accept our own fragility before it's too late." Additional studies in the Journal point to the need to improve and support community based health services, and the need for innovative strategies such as creating health clinics specifically for men. Also highlighted in the study is a list of poor health outcomes for men related to preventable and chronic diseases. More research is needed but available public health data make the case for immediate national, state and local action to improve men's health, the experts said.
Source: apha.org/news/press/2003/menshealth.htm

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