Arizona men’s health would be better if they went to the doctor

6/18/2011 10:00:00 PM

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Arizona’s men have the lowest rate of cancer in the U.S., and 85,000 have quit tobacco last year. But there’s bad news, too, and officials say it is entirely preventable.

The CDC survey said Arizona men fall in the bottom half of its rankings for overall health due to a lack of health screenings and a high rate of obesity.

Yet, of the men surveyed, 86 percent said their overall health is good, very good or excellent.

Why the disconnect? “I’m not surprised by the perception among men about their health,” said Wayne Tormala, Men’s Health Coordinator for the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Too often, men judge their health by how they feel or how they look.”

But that’s not an accurate gauge, he said.

“Men typically aren’t aware of the warning signs of the ‘silent killers’ we know as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes,” said Tormala.

Those problems could all be easily diagnosed, and with early treatment, can be managed or even eliminated.

The problem, Tormala said, is in getting men to be proactive. “Too often, when men go to a doctor, they see it as a failure or caving in.”

Arizona men are also overweight – 73 percent are overweight or obese, said the CDC, and compared to the national average, Arizona’s men are more likely to have high cholesterol.

“Men think that eating healthy means eating salads for the rest of their lives, when it is really about portion control,” said Tormala.

There are “manly” but healthy recipes at the website, said Tormala.

And about those screenings? Early detection of problems makes survival much more likely.

“Do it for your family and your kids, if not for yourself,” he said.


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