From the moment a male is born statistics show that on average he will live a shorter life span than females -about 5 years - as well as have higher rates of 12 of the 15 leading causes of death. Forget the old joke that a married man wants to die. According to a new study the reason he dies first is because of the “ideals” of masculinity. The more manly he feels, the less likely he is to seek preventative medical care; then oops it’s too late.
A manly man sucks up the pain and will not go into a doctor’s office where he might be unable to hide his fear. Besides, his comfort food is red meat. “This research strongly suggests that deep-seated masculinity beliefs are one core cause of men’s poor health, inasmuch as they reduce compliance with recommended preventative health services,” said Kristen W. Springer, the study’s primary investigator, an assistant professor of sociology at Rutgers University. Note: Highly educated men with the strongest-held masculinity beliefs were just as unlikely to obtain preventative care as men with lower levels of education.
If you are woman living with a manly man who doesn’t get a yearly physical, what can you do?
- Appeal to his competitive need to be at the top of the hierarchy: “Honey, you are so important to me blah, blah, blah, I want you to be around for a long time.”
- As CEO of the household, you can schedule his appointments just like you do going out with friends. Don’t talk about it; just make the appointment with the doctor. Go along with him not to hold his hand, but because, “I am concerned.” He will go to allay your fears.
- Make a game out of it and sneak in some healthy nutrition. For example, if he likes red meat, grill a lean cut and position it between two slices of multi-grain bread. Then stealthily add some vegetables like roasted peppers, arugula, tomato and onions. If you use cheese, get a low-fat version. Disguise the fruits, veggies and aim for a rainbow array. For example, mash a potato along with cauliflower and add some fat free milk. Season it well. Who is to know? Eventually his taste buds will change.
Since women are competing with men on all fronts and trying to equalize the playing field, some women are behaving like men with regard to preventative health care which results in a shorter life span for them too. When it concerns your health: Embrace your feminine side!
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com