When it comes to the battle of the sexes, men aren’t faring so well in the health realm.
According to Harvard Health, men are more likely to:
- Skip regular check-ups
- Engage in risky behavior
- Use tobacco products and alcohol
Unfortunately, men’s health statistics also show men die younger than women. They also tend to have more chronic illnesses than women, too.
Luckily, employers can easily address these issues during Men’s Health Week. This year, Men’s Health Week is June 15-21.
June is also recognized as Men’s Health Month, so if you miss Men’s Health Week, you still can bring men’s health issues to the spotlight. While the topic variety is endless, covering health issues like the importance of regular exercise and annual check-ups are easy promo ideas.
Need a little bit more guidance on how to cover it in the workplace?
Below, we share how to highlight your male employees’ health during Men’s Health Week. You’ll find statistics to share, along with daily activities to promote men’s health.
Read on to get planning!
Men’s Health By the Numbers
While overall, both sexes are living longer compared to decades ago, men still fall short when it comes to life longevity. Research shows men die younger than women and that more than half of all women older than 65 are widows. Additionally, widows outnumber widowers by at least three to one.
Researchers have found a variety of reasons that may be, including the following:
- Suicide is a risk factor - Men are about 3.5x more likely to die of suicide than women
- More injury-prone - Men have a higher rate of workplace injuries than women
- Skip doc visits - Men do not get physical exams from docs as often as women
- Excess weight is an issue - Almost 40% of men 20 and older are obese
- Blood pressure concerns - 33% of men age 20 and older have high blood pressure
- Sick more often - Men have more chronic illnesses than women
Additionally, the leading causes of death in men are heart disease, cancer, and accidents deemed as unintentional injuries.
7 Days of Activities for Men’s Health Week
In the workplace, you can use Men’s Health Week as an opportunity to engage the males in your workplace on specific health concerns. Or, you can promote overall well-being and health that may be of interest to your male population.
Use this month to raise awareness of easily preventable health problems — like obesity — and encourage annual doctor’s visits to detect and treat common diseases among men.
And not all material needs to be geared toward men. Your workplace is full of spouses and individuals who have men in their lives who they can pass the information onto as well.
Not sure where to start?
Below we outline seven days’ worth of activities for the workplace:
Day 1: Help Them With Evaluation & Goal Setting
Since Men’s Health Week begins on a Monday, you can start this activity the Thursday or Friday before. Take the time to encourage employees to evaluate their overall health and set goals.
It’s easier to make healthy changes when you have a goal to work toward and a “why” to focus on.
Send out worksheets or a thought-provoking survey via email with the following details:
Your health is your most important and precious asset. As you consider the following information, think about how you can improve your health.
- What would be your prime motivation to improve your health? (Ex: Be around for your spouse or grandkids? Complete a challenge or competition? Be a role model?)
- What current unhealthy habits would you like to break?
- What does your ideal health look like in a month? 3 months? 6 months?
- What new habits do you need to incorporate for this to happen?
Encourage employees to set SMART goals. A specific and measurable goal might look like: “lose x pounds by X date by exercising 3x a week in the morning and limiting calories on two meals a day.”
Day 2: Encourage a Visit to the Doctor
There are so many silent killers that can only be detected by blood work and regular physicals. Use this information to encourage male employees to schedule an exam. Employees should have a list of questions ready to discuss with their doctor not only about their physical condition but also about the doctor’s treatment approach.
Activities to do:
- Set up a date for a biometric screening
- Share resources on necessary health screenings
- Schedule and send out annual screening reminders
- Pass out details on male-specific health issues like prostate cancer
As workplaces start to open back up, most employees are quite health-conscious at the moment. It may be a good time to get a baseline of the overall health of your workers. A biometric screening company like ours can help you with that.
Day 3: Discuss Appropriate Weight
Encourage employees to evaluate their weight to determine if they need to make lifestyle changes. This can be as simple as checking an online BMI calculator or checking in with their doctor. Excess weight tends to be more of an issue in men, especially as they age.
Activities to do:
- Set up a daily walking time for office employees
- Host a nutritionist for a lunch and learn event
- Spearhead a weight loss challenge for the office
Share easy ways to get started: Small changes in diet, finding enjoyable exercises, taking walks at lunch, finding an accountability buddy, etc. are tips that your employees can implement ASAP.
Day 4: Remove the Stigma Around Mental Health
While incidents of mental health tend to be lower in men, they are also less likely than women to seek treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Mental health is as important as physical health and should not be ignored. Reducing stress, dealing with trauma, and working through life events are all important and no one has to do alone — including men.
Activities to do:
- Set up a workshop on mindfulness
- Email a list of crisis help resources
- Invite a local psychologist in for a lunch and learn
- Share local mental health resources with your employees
Symptoms of mental health issues may include increased irritability, sadness or hopelessness, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, and engaging in high-risk activities.
Day 5: Encourage Eating Well
Since men are more likely to have issues with heart disease, as they age, a well-balanced diet is essential to good health. Healthy foods are not only important for weight, but for managing diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Activities to do:
- Cater a heart-healthy luncheon
- Raffle off a book on heart health
- Host a cardiologist for a lunch and learn
- Share 12 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Heart
Share healthy recipes and encourage employees to make mealtimes fun, including cooking together by getting the kids or spouses involved, etc.
Day 6: Promote Daily Exercise
Daily exercise is not only important for weight loss, but a sedentary lifestyle causes many health problems. The American Heart Association reports that one in three men suffer from cardiovascular issues, which can be caused by issues like smoking, a poor diet, and lack of exercise.
Activities to do:
- Host a steps challenge
- Encourage walking meetings
- Share resources like desk exercises
- Ask your workers to sign up for a 5K
Anything you can do to encourage your employees to move daily is a step in the right direction. It can improve overall health, but especially cardiovascular health — a must for men of all ages.
Day 7: Take a Time Out
This is a perfect wrap-up for the week and right before the weekend hits. Because men are much less likely to report feelings of overwhelm or stress, it’s sometimes hard to gauge when they need a break. According to The American Institute of Stress website, “A U.S. national study reported that 60 to 80 percent of doctor’s visits may have a stress-related component. Stress has also been linked to a higher risk for disease, including cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.” Help men learn it’s okay to unwind.
Activities to do:
- Host a Mindful Monday event
- Have HR notify workers of vacation days left
- Bring in a yoga teacher for a meditation event
- Remind them to enjoy their weekend
Share with your male employees that it’s important to take time away to do relaxing activities. That sometimes may include time off from work or enjoying a hobby. Encourage employees to focus on one thing at a time. That means no checking work emails when off the clock, no phones during family time, etc.
Plan Now to Promote Wellness During Men’s Health Week
This month is the ideal time to focus on men’s health issues.
Awareness is a key component to educate your workforce on these health disparities impacting men. If men — and their loved ones — have a better understanding of the lifestyle choices, social and behavioral factors that increase poor health risk, they can make the right changes.
The activities list above is just one way to participate in the promotion of male health issues. Get creative in a manner that fits your workplace culture.
If you’ve done a biometric screening, focus on the key health concerns that your male employees are facing. Send out literature, email out health screening reminders, and schedule an appropriate lunch and learn to encourage them to improve their health.
Once it’s over, send a survey to see how you can help them maintain their health throughout the year. Feedback is essential to creating workplace wellness programs that actually move the needle positively in employees’ health.
How does your workplace participate in Men’s Health Week? Let us know in the comments below!