Thursday, February 7, 2019

Health of Men Deserves Attention

Health of Men Deserves Attention

As this is the day when we pause to honor fathers, perhaps it's time to go beyond slippers and ties and do something meaningful for the men we love. Like prolong their healthy lives.

A bill has been introduced in Congress to establish an Office of Men's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Since the early 1990s, many offices on women's health have been created, and women clearly have benefited from them, said Scott Williams, a spokesman for the D.C.-based Men's Health Network.

It would be great to have offices for men's health that mirror those for women, he said. It's really a complementary approach - it's combining men's and women's health together to ultimately build healthy families.

The Office of Men's Health bill, which has been introduced in the House and is expected to appear in the Senate, doesn't ask for new appropriations, Mr. Williams said. Instead, it sets up a director for the men's health office in HHS and asks that a report be made to Congress about the state of men's health and the action steps that can be taken to improve it.

We know that every dollar you spend on prevention ultimately saves about $4.91 in long-term, downstream health care costs, Mr. Williams said. So it's our hope and our mission to see an Office of Men's Health included in health care reform.

Many men, he added, need to be encouraged to take ownership of their health, and get in there early so that they can understand their personal health situation and their individual risks. An Office of Men's Health could drive home that message, leverage best practices, coordinate the now-disjointed state and local efforts, and really reach out to men and their families about health.

Here's Mr. Williams' kicker: It's really that premature death and disability of men ... has plagued the health and retirement systems, he told me As women enter retirement age 65 to 69, about 15 percent of them are widows because of the premature death and disability of men.

Premature disability or death often means - in addition to personal grief and loss - financial chaos for the family, lost taxable earnings and social costs as government programs step in to help care for dependents left behind. …


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