The US Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) joined with The Advertising Council to launch a national public service campaign designed to raise awareness among middle-aged men about the importance of preventive medical testing.
Men are 25 percent less likely than women to have visited a physician within the past year and are 38 percent more likely than women to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
Furthermore, men are 1.5 times more likely than women to die from heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new campaign encourages men over 40 to learn which preventive screening tests they need to get and when they need to get them.
This campaign complements AHRQ's existing efforts toward improving the safety and quality of health care and promoting patient involvement in their own health care.
This includes the "Questions are the Answer" campaign launched with the Ad Council in 2007 and the "Superheroes" Spanish-language campaign launched in 2008.
"We hope this campaign will inform men about the importance of prevention and show them that they should work with their health care providers to find out what they should do to stay healthy," says Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, director of AHRQ.
The campaign highlights the work of the AHRQ-sponsored US Preventive Services Task Force, which is an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services.
"By taking steps to prevent disease and stay healthy, men can live longer and more productive lives," says Dr. Ned Calonge, chair of the Task Force.
"Prevention is a decision that includes participating in regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and finding out which preventive medical tests are right for you," says Dr. Calonge.
The advertising campaign includes new television, radio, print, and Web advertising featuring the theme "Real Men Wear Gowns." The lighthearted ads incorporate family as a key motivating factor for men to take a more active role in preventive health.
They show the target audience that being a real man means taking care of themselves (and their health) in order to be there for their families and in the future. Ad Council research showed this was a strong motivating factor for men.
"Our research conducted during the development of this campaign found that despite their increased health risks men aren't taking preventive steps and are often only visiting their doctors when they experience symptoms," says Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council.
The campaign encourages men to visit a comprehensive web site.
The site provides the recommended ages for preventive testing (as well as a list of tests), a quiz designed to test your knowledge of preventive health care, tips for talking with your physician, a glossary of consumer health terms, and links to online resources where you can find more medical information.
Always consult your physician for more information.
(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says for starters you should eat healthy.
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." There's more truth to this saying than we once thought. What you do or do not eat and drink can definitely make a difference to your health.
Eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day and less saturated fat can help improve your health and may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Have a balanced diet, and watch how much you eat.
Next maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is at an all time high in the US, and the epidemic may be getting worse. Those who are overweight or obese have increased risks for diseases and conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
More than 50 percent of American men and women do not get enough physical activity to provide health benefits. For adults, thirty minutes of moderate physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week is recommended.
It does not take a lot of time or money, but it does take commitment. Start slowly, work up to a satisfactory level, and do not overdo it. You can develop one routine, or you can do something different every day. Find fun ways to stay in shape and feel good, such as dancing, gardening, cutting the grass, swimming, walking, or jogging.
Health concerns associated with smoking include cancer and lung disease. Smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease among those who are middle-aged. Second-hand smoke - smoke that you inhale when others smoke - also affects your health. If you smoke, quit today!
Help lines, counseling, medications, and other forms of support are available to help you quit.
Men should get routine exams and screenings, says the CDC. Sometimes they are once a year. Other times they are more or less often. Based on your age, health history, lifestyle, and other important issues, you and your health care provider can determine how often you need to be examined and screened for certain diseases and conditions.
Vaccinations are not just for kids. Adults need them too. Some vaccinations are for everyone. Others are recommended if you work in certain jobs, have certain lifestyles, travel to certain places, or have certain health conditions. Protect yourself from illness and disease by keeping up with your vaccinations.
Watch your stress level. Perhaps now more than ever before, job stress poses a threat to the health of workers and, in turn, to the health of organizations. Balancing obligations to your employer and your family can be challenging. Protect your mental and physical health by engaging in activities that help you manage your stress at work and at home.
Always consult your physician for more information.