June 9-15 was National Men’s Health Week, a health observance coordinated by the Men’s Health Network and celebrated each year as the week leading up to, and including, Father’s Day. The week, which coincides with June’s Men’s Health Month, is intended to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.”
Salvatore J. Giorgianni, Jr., PharmD, chair of APHA Men’s Health Caucus, shared his insight on the keys to men’s health — notably “awareness, prevention, education and family” — in a conversation with Public Health Newswire.
2014 marks 20 years since National Men’s Health Week, or NMHW, was passed by Congress and signed by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. NMHW was sponsored by Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Bill Richardson and is celebrated each year as the week that ends on Father’s Day. Following the lead of Congress, governors of 47 states and Washington, D.C., joined by mayors of over 40 cities, have issued proclamations in 2014 creating Men’s Health Week in their jurisdictions.
In the 20 years since NMHW passage this outreach has encouraged the development of thousands of health awareness activities throughout the month of June both in the U.S. and around the globe. Corporations, hospital systems, clinics, the faith-based community, the public sector, and others highlight their services and reach out to boys, men and those that love them.
NMHW was built around four pillars: awareness, prevention, education and family. This has resulted in countless campaigns that focus on raising awareness about health issues affecting men and boys. The awareness and outreach does not involve men alone, but is also a family matter. Men’s health advocates, in particular those who are a part of the APHA Men’s Health Caucus, encourage all men, and especially dads, to become role models for their children and health leaders in the community — not only during this week but every week.
Recognizing that many diseases that affect boys and men can be prevented, outreach and events during NMHW week encourage men, boys and those who love them to develop positive health attitudes, engage in preventive behaviors, lead healthy lifestyles and seek timely medical advice and care.
Perhaps most importantly, these 20 years of activity have seen a marked improvement in the health and wellbeing of men and boys, with a dramatic improvement in life expectancy and surprising drops in key mortality indicators. There has been a steep drop among males in overall mortality, and corresponding improvements in the mortality rates for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Tables illustrating those improvements can be found at Men’s Health Network.
The Men’s Health Caucus of APHA acknowledges the tireless work of the Men’s Health Network, a national non-profit organization, for its leadership in establishing this proclamation and its advocacy for over two decades to enhance the health of boys and men and their families.
This article was originally published on the public health newswire and can be found here.