NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans”, which highlights the fact that too many Americans are not adopting preventive care and lifestyle changes due to perceived high cost. Download it HERE!
The U.S. has become known for its larger-than-life mentality — big houses, big televisions, big meal portions, and now big people — are commonplace in our country. According to the CDC, 35 percent of women in the U.S. are obese as of this year, and that percentage has remained the same since 1999. For men, obesity has risen from 27 percent to 35 percent over the same amount of time. The worry is that these numbers will continue to rise and that the health of American men will continue to deteriorate. The CDC also found that one in four men have some form of heart disease, which is currently the leading cause of death among men and one of the direct side effects of obesity. Other direct side effects of weight gain include diabetes and certain types of cancer, which all fall under the category of potentially preventable conditions.
Though A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans found that almost all men (94 percent) feel that preventive care is important, only 24 percent give themselves an A grade for their efforts to ensure preventive care for themselves. And while 92 percent of men reported that they feel taking proper preventive measures saves patients money and think it is less expensive to prevent a serious condition or disease than it is to treat it, only about one-third (34 percent) of men have taken the preventive measure of discussing medical history and risk factors with their doctor in the last two years. Since preventive care is covered under the Affordable Care Act, it is going to become increasingly important for healthcare providers to take the steps necessary to build relationships with patients that provide them with information, support and encouragement in hopes of helping them truly grasp and understand the importance of preventive care.
What’s Preventing Preventive Behaviors?
Men did report that they understand the benefits and positives of preventive care, but that doesn’t mean they are adopting preventive behaviors. In fact, A Call for Change found that many men agree that out-of-pocket cost is the primary reason they decide whether or not to seek preventive care, yet 26 percent remain unknowledgeable about what their insurance policy plans offer. And although 60 percent of men said that exercise is a common preventive measure for their doctor to prescribe, only 52 percent of all men surveyed said that over the past two years they’ve tried to exercise routinely, or at least three times a week.
It also remains true that preventive measures are of low priority for many men. Only 23 percent have been screened for diabetes, only 37 percent have had their cholesterol checked, just 32 percent have had a prostate exam, and only 16 percent have had a cancer screening of any type. And this apathy toward a healthy lifestyle is catching up to most men. A Call for Change found that almost half of the men surveyed (49 percent) said they are taking prescribed medication on a regular basis, and another 45 percent admitted they are currently treating a disease or chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, a heart problem, diabetes or cancer.