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June is National Men's Health Month: Taking Care of our Men

by Kuae Kelch Mattox

While we enjoy the sisterhood and support of Mocha Moms and focus on taking care of ourselves, we must not forget our men. After all, they are our husbands, our fathers, our brothers and our sons, and they need our attention and care. June is National Men's Health Month, a chance to bring awareness to preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. June 9-15 marks Men's Health Week, an opportunity to shine a light on some of the health disparities among men, particularly men of color, and focus on this year's theme, the "Power of Prevention."

According to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, on average American men live sicker and die younger than American women. Men are less likely to have health insurance and make recommended preventive visits to the doctor. Preventable illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes take a significant toll on men, especially for men of color.

Here are some other devastating stats:

*Heart disease is the leading killer across most racial and ethnic minority communities in the United States, accounting for 24 percent of all deaths in 2010.

*Hispanic men are 40 percent more likely to have a stroke.

*Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders were four times more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to die from a stroke.

*African American men are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.

*American Indian and Alaska Native men are 2.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.

*Asian American men are 1.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.

*African American and Mexican American boys 6-11 years old are 1.3 times more likely to be overweight than white boys of the same age group.

                                                          Source: Office of Minority Health

Our men need us ladies. This month let's all take a few moments to talk to the men in our lives about their health. Make sure they are eating lots of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, cutting down on salt and sugar, smoking and alcohol. Help them manage their stress and make sure they are getting enough sleep. Ask them when they last visited a doctor and what they can do today to live a healthier life. Encourage them to be proactive, find out the screenings that they need at their age and stay on top of doctor visits...and if they don't have insurance, urge them to visit to learn more about the next coverage period or if they qualify to participate in the current special enrollment period.

Above all, let's never forget to tell our men that we care and that we need them in our lives for many years to come. Taking care of their health is probably the most important thing they can do for themselves, and we are here to support them every step of the way.

If your chapter decides to host an event in honor of National Men’s Health Month, help support men’s health awareness by wearing BLUE to remind men of the importance of staying healthy.

For more information on National Men's Health Month, click here.

Visit the Office of Minority Health’s website here.

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