Listen up, men: your health matters | Editorial

Watching our friends and family grow mustaches is entertaining and fun, but there is a serious reason for “Movember”: raising awareness about men’s health. We urge men to take a look at the following information and take action.

Men die much younger than women. The average life expectancy for American men is almost five years less than women (presently 76 compared to 81), however there is no biological explanation for this.

According to the Movember Foundation, the charitable organization behind the national movement, some of the reasons for men’s poor health are: lack of understanding about the issues; not openly discussing their health; reluctance to take action when not feeling well; engaging in risky activities; and stigmas surrounding both physical and mental health.

The foundation’s goal is to bring in funds and raise awareness that will combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. Here are some stats from us.movember.com:

• One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Over 238,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed, and almost 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer in 2013.

• Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in males between the ages of 15 and 35, and 7,920 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer and 370 will die in 2013.

• Over 6 million men are diagnosed with depression each year. Almost four times as many males as females die by suicide.

• 6 million people die every year from tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. One person dies every six seconds.

• About 2,240 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among men, and about 410 men will die from the disease in 2013.

• Men who sit more than six hours a day have an 18 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease and a 7.8 percent increased chance of dying from diabetes compared with someone who sits for three hours or less a day. Globally, 5.3 million deaths will be attributed to physical inactivity.

So men, listen up: if you want to be around for your grand-kids or take that long-awaited trip to Italy with your wife, start paying attention to your health. Get an annual physical.  Exercise a few times a week. Don’t eat a cheeseburger every day. And don’t smoke cigarettes. Actually, no one should be smoking – period.

Thank you to all those mustache-wearing men (and women) who are helping bring these issues to our attention.