Advocacy, Public Policy

Men’s Health Takes Center Stage at the White House

In 2012, Men’s Health Network launched the Dialogue on Men’s Health series, which regularly brings together healthcare professionals, patient groups, community organizations, private corporations, and government agencies to address the unique challenges that confront men, boys, and their families. So you can imagine how delighted we were when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked MHN to help organize a Dialogue on Men’s Health event at the White House January 8, 2016. The goal of the White House event—and of all of the Dialogues—was to inspire, engage, motivate, and activate the private- and public sectors to make men’s health a priority. A lofty goal, but one that was achieved with remarkable success.

tamh - WH speakers
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Family Issues, Fatherhood, Psychology, Work

being the breadwinner isn't always goodMen, Maybe Being The Breadwinner Is Not a Good Thing

Gendered expectations in marriage are not just bad for women, they are also bad for men, according to a new study by University of Connecticut (UConn) sociologists.

Using data on the same nationally representative group of married men and women over 15 years, the authors examined the relationship between men’s and women’s relative income contributions and found that, in general, as men took on more financial responsibility in their marriages, their psychological well-being and health declined. Men’s psychological well-being and health were at their worst during years when they were their families’ sole breadwinner. In these years, they had psychological well-being scores that were 5 percent lower and health scores that were 3.5 percent lower, on average, than in years when their partners contributed equally.

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Fitness, Masculinity, Sports

olympiansEveryday Olympians

Greatness comes in many forms, and this is certainly one of them!

Who are your favorite Olympians this year? Gosh, what a panoply of miracles, upsets, world records and letdowns! Maybe it’s the once-in-a-lifetime-stars like motorized Michael Phelps, soaring Simone Biles or unstoppable Usain Bolt. Possibly, it’s the silent but seriously talented home grown Brazilian beach volleyball players Bárbara Seixas and Ágatha Bednarczuk. Or maybe it’s the underdog U.S. women’s field hockey team that, for the first time in 32 years, played a medal-caliber game. What a nail biter of an Olympics!

Everyday Heroes

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Health, Masculinity, Mental Health

secret life of malesPublic Health in Action: The Secret Life of Males

It was in fifth grade when I first read a handful of James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”  My teacher, Mrs. Dalton, used Thurber as an example of descriptive writing, what she referred to as “Show, not tell” or SNT for short.  I vividly remember writing a story similar to Thurber’s Walter Mitty, where I would drift back and forth from real life to daydreaming and back again – racing a car in my daydream, only to be scolded by the grocery store manager for barreling the shopping cart into an innocent pyramid of watermelons.

Now more than two decades later, I still chuckle at Thurber’s humorous tales; humbled by his seamless transitions between fantasy and reality.  But on a deeper level, the life of Walter Mitty illustrates distinct social norms and narratives.  Walter’s fantasies transport him into a life that’s far more exciting, full of adventure and intrigue, and completely different from his normal life.  He’s the stoic commander of a helicopter flying into a snowstorm or the Air Force captain taking a few drinks of brandy before jumping behind the machine gun turret.  He becomes his own hero; a figure of admiration by those around him.  But the story beneath reveals a few underlying messages to males, in particular: take risks, be heroic and be brave.  And those messages are absorbed, accepted and passed from generation to generation.  These “rites of passage” have a profound effect on personality, lifestyle and behavior. Moreover, they may also explain the following:

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Cardio, Other Cancers

hospitals not safeHospitals May Not Be As Safe As You’d Think

Most of us know that heart disease and cancer are among the biggest killers in the United States. They’re actually numbers one and two, having caused 614,000 and 591,000 deaths, respectively, in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the third leading killer, which takes the lives of about 250,000 Americans every year—is one that few people have ever considered: medical errors. And in a bizarrely ironic twist, those deaths are happening at the hands of professionals who are trained to help us live a longer, healthier life.

To put this in perspective, medical errors kill more people than strokes, car accidents, guns, and drug overdoses combined. So why haven’t we heard about this before? In large part, it’s because the insurance billing system is organized around diseases, conditions, tests, procedures, and medication—all of which are assigned a number that physicians, hospitals, and labs can put on a form so they can get paid. It never occurred to the people who created billing codes to have one for mistakes.

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Cardio

bloodpressure+stressTo Reduce Blood Pressure, Reduce Stress First

We often want to blame a rise in blood pressure on diet, weight, lack of exercise or family history.  All of those risk factors can and do play their part of possibly leading to hypertension.  But there is another risk factor each of us experience just about every day that can be shouldering some of the responsibility for the extra rise in our blood pressure numbers – stress.

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t have some form of stress affect us.  Stress can fall into either a low, medium, or high category and if yours keeps falling in the medium to high level, this could be part of the problem.

It’s guaranteed, stress will happen.  The best we can do is deal with it in a constructive and positive manner to reduce the tension and strain we sometimes feel.  Here are some ways to do this:

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