Men's Health—Time to Take Charge!

The May 10 Advisory Council forum on health care reform featured UW Public Health lecturer Aaron Katz (left) and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott (right), facilitated by Dr. Natalie Ellington (center).

It's not a pretty picture. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

  • Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
  • Men are 28 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
  • Men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely than women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.
  • Men are 24 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented by getting an immunization.

Add local disparities between men's and women's health—outlined in the graphic—and the message should be clear: Men, it's time to take charge of your health!

It's never too late to change our health behaviors. What's more, we have an opportunity to help our sons and grandsons understand the importance of building a trusting relationship with a primary care physician, getting necessary immunizations, eating right (more fiber, less sugar, healthier fats), and exercising regularly.

This issue of AgeWise King County provides facts, resources, and inspiration for better health that will benefit both male and female readers.

Advisory Council advocacy

I want to acknowledge the good work of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging and Disability Services' communications committee, led by Dr. Natalie Ellington, in organizing two forums earlier this year—Health Care Reform: How Will It Affect You? (May 10, 2013) and Good Food, Good Health, Good Life on a Budget (March 8, 2013). Last year, the Advisory Council sponsored a transportation forum and The Silver Tsunami forum for state legislative candidates, both of which are outlined on the Advisory Council's Advocacy webpage (www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council/advocacy).

If you would like to become more involved as an Aging Network advocate, you are welcome to attend upcoming events, including Advisory Council on Aging and Disability Services meetings. General council meetings usually fall on the second Friday of each month. For information about meeting agendas or to inquire about Advisory Council appointments, contact ADS planner Gigi Meinig (206-684-0652 or gigi.meinig@seattle.gov).

—Tony Provine, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging and Disability Service