June is Men’s Health Month, an annual event dedicated to enriching the health and wellness of men. Men’s Health Week is also during the month of June, traditionally held the week leading up to Father’s Day. This year, Men’s Health Week is June 10-16, 2019. Both of these yearly events bring awareness to the preventable health problems facing men and boys, and they provide an opportunity for health care professionals to encourage males to seek early testing and treatment.

The Men’s Health Network has hosted Men’s Health Month since 1992. In the years since, a number of organizations have participated in the annual event. Several state and local authorities have even issued proclamations naming June as Men’s Health Month. Health care providers can hold mini health fairs and awareness fundraisers. Individuals can schedule health screenings for themselves or for the male members of their families.

Each of these helps raise awareness of health issues affecting men and boys, and promotes early screening and treatment for these conditions.

Health Issues Affecting Men

Men’s health is a serious issue. Approximately 12 percent of men aged 18 and over are in poor health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About a third of all men aged 20 and over in the United States has high blood pressure and about 36 percent are obese.

The average lifespan for American men is 5 years shorter than it is for their female counterparts, according to Harvard Health Publications from Harvard Medical School.

Certain conditions, such as prostate cancer and low testosterone, affect only men. Other conditions affect more men more frequently than they affect women. Heart attacks are twice as common in men as in women, for example, and men have a slightly higher risk of colon cancer than do women.

Many of the health problems men face, such as heart disease and colon cancer, are preventable. Regular screening can detect these diseases early, when they are most responsive to treatment. While it is important to undergo routine screening, men are less likely to undergo screening than are women. Only about 40 percent of men follow their doctor’s advice, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Men’s Health Month Activities

Men’s Health Month activities can include health fairs with free blood pressure screenings, cholesterol checks, PSA tests to measure prostate health, and body fat measurements. These health fairs can take place at workplaces, community health centers, churches, libraries, and hospitals.

Fitness centers, local gyms, yoga centers and karate schools can hold demonstrations throughout the month. Restaurants can feature a different heart- and colon-healthy meal throughout the month of June.

Individuals can wear blue the Friday before Father’s Day, in a yearly tradition known as “Wear Blue Friday.” Companies with strict dress codes may consider relaxing these policies on this one day to show support for their male employees. They might also hold contests for the best blue outfit or accessories.

Individuals, community health centers, and organizations can share pictures and stories of their Men’s Health Month and Men’s Health Day activities online, using the hashtags #MensHealthMonth and #ShowUsYourBlue.

Throughout the month of June, men and their families can plan fitness activities to do on weekends and after work. Engaging in exercise together is one of the best ways fathers can teach their sons and their daughters about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Families can explore healthy food options throughout the month too – June is a great time to indulge in fresh fruits and vegetables.

For more information about Men’s Health Month, consult with your local healthcare provider or community health center.