Macho men not mindful about medical care

September 10, 2009

"Macho" men are less likely to seek routine medical care than blue-collar workers with similar ideals.

Middle-aged men with white-collar jobs are half as likely to seek routine medical care than blue-collar workers with similar ideals, Rutgers University researchers report.

It is unclear whether feelings about masculinity directly make men avoid doctor visits; the study only indicates that a cause-and-effect link might exist. Although researchers do not know what this might mean for men’s health, MHE Editorial Advisor Paula Sauer, vice president of care management at Medical Mutual of Ohio, might have an idea.

“This information becomes pertinent because managed care executives have to ask themselves if they are getting the message out,” says Sauer. “Is everything that could be done to keep men informed of the importance of preventive healthcare being done? Getting the message out takes on greater meaning when you are trying to keep healthcare costs down through preventive care.”

Medical Mutual of Ohio will continue to address men’s health through its basic health promotions, according to Sauer.

“We encourage preventive health visits and make sure our customers are aware of when they should be getting their health screenings such as prostate exams and blood pressure checks,” she says. “A well-informed customer is a customer who can make informed decisions about his or her health.”

Rutgers researchers examined the results of surveys taken in 2004 by 1,000 white, middle-aged men in Wisconsin, according to HealthDay News. The men answered questions about their beliefs regarding masculinity and disclosed whether they’d gotten recommended annual physicals, prostate checks and flu shots.

After adjusting the results to account for such things as a high number of married participants, researchers found that men who were the highest believers in masculine standards were 50% less likely to get the recommended care than other men.