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U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) protects the health of all Americans and provides essential human services

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Real Men Wear Gowns - And Help Their Health

04/15/2016 06:00AM | 4089 views

By Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.

Whatever your favorite form of exercise is, taking care of yourself makes a big difference.

Beyond running faster or boosting your batting average, there's another, more important reason why you need to take better care of yourself: Your family and loved ones depend on you and want you with them for as long as possible. Taking care of yourself will increase your chances of teaching your son to ride a bike or walking your daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

That's the theme behind two information campaigns that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality started with the Ad Council to get men more involved in their health care. We began a campaign called "Real Men Wear Gowns." It includes TV, radio, print, and Web ads that urge men to learn which preventive medical tests they need and when they need to get them. ESPN launched similar ads with sports anchors from ESPN's SportsCenter and other shows.

Facts show that men don't visit the doctor as often as women, even though men are more prone to serious illnesses. Data from my Agency show that men are 25 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the past year. And men are 1.5 times more likely than women to die from heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases.

Taking care of your health is something that's best left to you, not your spouse or girlfriend. The women in your life are busy making health decisions for themselves, children, parents, and other relatives. By taking steps to stay healthy, you also can be a role model for your kids.

As our ads say, "real men" will take the extra steps to go to the doctor, get the right medical tests for their age and health status, and even put on a flimsy exam gown if that's what they need to do.

Men can lead longer, healthier lives if they take steps to prevent disease. To know which steps to follow, visit www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/patient-involvement/healthy-men/index.html. This site:

  • Gives the recommended ages for medical tests.
  • Offers a quiz about preventive health care.
  • Provides tips for talking with your doctor.
  • Defines health terms and gives links to sources for more information.

The "Real Men Wear Gowns" ads are part of my Agency's ongoing efforts to help patients become more involved in decisions about their health care. AHRQ also created ads to help prevent medical mistakes. Called "Questions are the Answer," those ads urge patients to create a list of questions about their medical needs and to ask those questions during medical appointments.

By becoming more involved in your health, you'll boost your chances of enjoying many more seasons with [your family and loved ones].

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