Discrepancies between menís general perceptions of their personal health and the realities of their health problems have been noted for many years. While men report that they are in better overall health than do women, men lead in most of the top causes of death and consistently die earlier than women.
In Southeastern Pennsylvania in 2010, 15% of men 18 years of age and older were in fair or poor health; this percentage represents 209,500 men in the region. The following data from PHMC's 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey describe the health status, utilization of services and health promotion behaviors of men 18 years of age and older in the region.
Chronic Health Conditions
A substantial number of men in Southeastern Pennsylvania are not in good health. The data show that of health conditions reported among men, 32.7% have high blood pressure, 11% have diabetes, and 11.4% have a diagnosed mental health condition. These percentages are higher in 2010 compared to previous survey years.
More than one-half (55.2) of men 60 years of age and older have high blood pressure compared to younger men ages 40-59 (34.8%.)
Asians are the least likely racial/ethnic group to have high blood pressure (19.7%), followed by Latinos (24.7%), whites (32.5%) and blacks (39.1%.)
Four out of ten poor men have high blood pressure compared to less than three out of ten non-poor men (45% and 31.6%, respectively.)
More than one out of five men in the region are obese (22.1%) and 44.9% are overweight; these percentages represent 893,300 men in the region with a weight problem.
Men 40-59 years of age are more likely to be obese (25.1%) than are men 18-39 (20%) and men 60 years of age and older (21.3%).
Slightly less than one-third of black men are obese (31.4%). This is higher than for Latino (26.8%) and white (20.9%) men. Asian men are the least likely racial/ethnic group to be obese (4.2%).
Many prevalent health problems can be prevented or their severity lessened by engaging in healthier behaviors. This includes refraining from smoking and getting regular exercise.
One in five men age 18 years and older smoke cigarettes (20.9%); this percentage represents 281,000 men in the region who smoke. Of these men, almost half have tried to quit in the past year (46.1%).
Older men 60 years of age and older are less likely to smoke cigarettes (12.5%) than are younger men ages 40-59 (22.6%). Men 18-39 years of age are the most likely age group to smoke cigarettes. Almost one-quarter of men in this age group smoke cigarettes (24.2%).
Asian (16.9%) men are less likely to smoke cigarettes compared to other racial/ethnic groups, followed by white (20.3%), Latino (21.8%) and black (24.0%) men.
Poor men are one and one half times as likely to smoke cigarettes compared to non-poor men (34% and 19.8%, respectively.)
Almost one-third of men exercise regularly (more than three times per week), representing 454,100 men in the region.
Utilization of Services
Many men do not know they have a health problem because they are not as likely to be regular users of the health care system.
Greater than twelve percent of men do not have health insurance coverage; this percentage represents 145,300 men without private or public coverage.
Nearly one-third of Latino men are uninsured (34.8%). This is higher compared to black (18.3%), Asian (12.1%) or white (6.7%) men.
Poor men are three times more likely to be uninsured (22.4%) than are non-poor men (9.3%).
In Southeastern Pennsylvania, more than one out of five men did not go to a doctor in the past year (22.5%).
Thirteen percent do not have a regular source of care, a critical factor in receiving timely care and preventing many health problems. Among men who have a regular source of care, the majority (85.9%) visit a private doctorís office for their care.
One-third of Latino men do not have a regular source of care (30.1%) compared to black (16.6%) and white (10.5%) men.
Poor men are less likely to have a regular source of care compared to the non-poor (18% and 12.7%, respectively.)
More than one out of ten (12.1%) men do not have coverage for prescriptions.
One out of five Latino men do not have prescription coverage compared to Latino (18.1%), Asian (13.5%) and white (8.9%) men.
Poor men are less likely to have prescription coverage compared to the non-poor (22.1% and 10.2%, respectively.)
Health Promotion Behaviors
Receiving routine screenings and exams is critical in preventing or lessening the severity of many health conditions. While the majority of men do get these recommended tests, many men in Southeastern Pennsylvania still fail to receive potentially life saving exams.
More than one out of ten men 18 years of age and older did not have a blood pressure reading in the past year; this percentage represents 155,600 who have not had this basic screening.
Four out of ten men 50 years of age and older have not had a prostate exam in the past year (41.9%.)
More than one-quarter of men have never had a sigmidoscopy or Colonoscopy (26.1%).
The above data clearly indicate the need to increase the delivery of targeted health education messages to men with attention focused on how men of varying age, racial/ethnic backgrounds, and income are affected. Attention should also be focused on the psychological, social and economic barriers facing men in order to target appropriate services to this population.
For more information about menís health, contact Francine Axler at (215) 985-2521 or Francine@phmc.org.
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