Movember - A Focus on Men's Health

12 November 2020

November is a time when we focus on men’s health, thanks in part to Nonprofit Organizations like Movember, Men’s Health Network, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

Movember - A Focus on Men's Health

Statistics show us that 12.4% of men 18 years and over are in fair or poor health, and that they have reduced life expectancy compared to women.1 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “men’s poorer survival rates reflect several factors - greater levels of occupational exposure to physical and chemical hazards, behaviors associated with male norms of risk-taking and adventure, health behavior paradigms related to masculinity and the fact that men are less likely to visit a doctor when they are ill and, when they see a doctor, are less likely to report on the symptoms of disease or illness.”2 Overall, the data shows us that men have death rates twice as high as women for “accidents, suicide, cirrhosis of the liver, and homicide.”

Topics not often discussed include racial disparity in men’s health. At most risk for “elevated rates of morbidity, disability, and mortality”3 are all men of low socioeconomic status, but particularly black men and middle-class black men. These risks are often related to decreased access to health care, unfavorable working conditions, the delay in seeking medical attention when symptoms are first identified, and difficulty coping in stressful situations. Additionally, issues specific to the male gender, such as erectile dysfunction (ED), prostate cancer and testicular cancer are often overlooked to focus on well publicized conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure. But the research shows us that the uncomfortable topics need to be discussed. One example is the data showing that Erectile Dysfunction can be a predictor of other health issues, “such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and angina.”2

More now than ever, mental health needs to be discussed with men as much as physical health. Suicide numbers among men are at an all time high. In England and Wales, 16.9 deaths per 100,000 people is the highest since 2000, with men aged 45-49 at most risk. The international pandemic has increased worries of job loss and financial distress throughout the world, further increasing the risk of suicide for men aged 25-44.4 In the US, there are an average of 123 suicides per day, with white men accounting for 7 out of every 10 deaths.5

Organizations like Movember are well equipped to discuss the challenges that men face every day. They provide support, sometimes monetary, but at other times through increased awareness and contact with all men, regardless of age or ethnicity. Their list of the “top five things to know, and do” is particularly engaging, encouraging men to speak up, spend time with friends and family, stay aware of signs and symptoms of mental and physical illness, and move more.1

Limbs & Things is dedicated to educating our current and future healthcare providers about men’s health, including the disparity issues that face black men and their families. Our expanded range of dark-skinned products can help start the conversation about taking care of our husbands, fathers, and male children. If you have a man in your life that you love, we urge you to encourage him to make an appointment for a health checkup. Discussing the issues that feel uncomfortable may save his life.

1. Movember General Men's Health Stats 
2. Changing Men's Health: Leading the Future
3. The Health of Men: Structured Inequalities and Opportunities 
4. Male Suicide rate hits two-decade high in England and Wales 
5. Suicide in the US