Men Put Their Health on the Back Burner

TUESDAY, July 3 (HealthDay News) -- Men report skipping health screenings and avoiding doctor's visits in a new survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The survey examined the health behaviors of 2,282 adults across the nation, including 1,111 men.

The surveyors found that more than half of the men had not seen their primary-care physician for a physical exam in the last year, and more than a quarter reported waiting "as long as possible" before seeking medical help for sickness, pain or health concerns.

Furthermore, 18 percent of the men said their have never received the recommended screening for colon cancer.

Despite this, most of the men -- 79 percent -- described their health as "excellent," "very good" or "good."

While the men may think they are in good health, the results of the survey paint a different picture.

Forty-two percent of the men surveyed have been diagnosed with at least one of the following chronic conditions: high blood pressure (28 percent), heart disease (8 percent), arthritis (13 percent), cancer (8 percent) or diabetes (10 percent).

And the men reported watching an average of 19 hours of television per week, including more than four hours of sports. All this television, and only 38 percent of the men exercise on a regular basis.

"One of the biggest obstacles to improving the health of men is men themselves," said Rick Kellerman, M.D., president of the AAFP. "They don't make their health a priority."

There is some good news.

"Fortunately, 78 percent of the men with a spouse or significant other surveyed said their spouse or significant other has some influence over their decision to go to the doctor," said Kellerman.

-- Krisha McCoy

SOURCE: American Academy of Family Physicians, news release, June 2007

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