Machoism’s effect? Most men avoid preventive health measures: survey

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June 18, 2007  
Filed under Men's health

PRNewswire – From skipping important health screenings to avoiding a visit to the doctor altogether, new results from a survey released by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) indicate men continue to fall short when it comes to managing their personal health.

The AAFP recently surveyed 2,282 men and women across the country about their health behaviours.

Among the findings:

  • More than half (55%) of all men surveyed have not seen their primary care physician for a physical exam within the past year.
  • Four in 10 (42%) men have been diagnosed with at least one of the following chronic conditions: high blood pressure (28%), heart disease (8%), arthritis (13%), cancer (8%) or diabetes (10%).
  • Almost one in five men (18%) 55 years and older have never received the recommended screening for colon cancer.
  • More than one out of four men (29%) say they wait “as long as possible” before seeking help when they feel sick or are in pain or are concerned about their health.

Despite this, almost 8 in 10 (79%) men describe themselves as in “Excellent,” “Very Good,” or “Good” health.

Men in the United States may not be as healthy as they say they are. The survey showed men spend an average of 19 hours a week watching television, and more than four hours a week watching sports, but just slightly more than one- third (38%) of men exercise on a regular basis.
And, the CDC estimates, almost three out of four (71%) men are overweight.

“One of the biggest obstacles to improving the health of men is men themselves,” said Rick Kellerman, M.D., President of the AAFP. “They don’t make their health a priority. Fortunately, 78 percent of the men with a spouse or significant other surveyed say their spouse or significant other has some influence over their decision to go to the doctor.”

Family physicians focus on prevention and the early detection of illness by treating the whole person and the whole family — men, women, children, and the elderly. Family physicians provide routine check-ups,health-risk assessments, immunizations, screening tests and personalized counseling on healthy lifestyle choices. They also manage chronic illnesses and coordinate care, when appropriate, with other specialists.

“Many men are unaware that simple screening tests and lifestyle changes can dramatically improve their quality of life,” Kellerman said. “Family physicians are well equipped to address men’s physical, mental and emotional health concerns and provide the medical guidance necessary to keep them in the best of health.”

For more information on men’s health and other family health topics, please visit

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians between April 30 and May 2, 2007, among 2,282 adults (aged 18 and older) 1111 of which were men. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 2,282, one could say with a 95% probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 5 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


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