Marketing key to better health care outcomes for men
Men are less likely than women to use health care in the most effective way or become informed about their own health. Traditionally, boys and men are taught that they should be self-reliant, control their emotions, and maintain a strong image by denying pain or weakness. One result of this "traditional masculinity" is that men are less likely to seek support or information from the health care system. Men may view talking about health or seeking care as a sign of weakness.
That men are less likely to visit health care practitioners represents a missed opportunity for early detection of health problems and recommendation of preventive health practices. Unfortunately, many men do not establish a connection to a particular family physician or avoid their physician unless they have symptoms that indicate urgent need for medical assistance. This is a barrier to preventive health care—it is not possible for the physician to provide ongoing monitoring of the individual's health status or recommend preventive lifestyle changes.
We know that several leading causes of death in men are associated with illnesses for which modification of risk factors and early detection can improve outcomes and reduce mortality. We must try to reach men with information so that they can make rational decisions about when and how to use the healthcare system.