Not just another month

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Savannah L. Waters
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The summer is finally here and with it Men’s Health Month is observed across the U.S. with various health fairs, screenings, and other health education and outreach activities.

While people are aware that being healthy and staying fit to fight is essential to the mission, June is the month used to heighten awareness of preventable health problems in men and boys, as well as encourage early treatment of disease.

“About 80 percent of the Air Force is comprised of men,” said Maj. Richard Trowbridge, 86th Medical Operations Squadron, Ramstein Family Health Clinic physician. “If they are not able to maintain their health, our mission suffers.”

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, men are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular checkups and medical care than women are.

Men's Health month gets us talking about the issues that are specific to men like testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction,” Trowbridge said.

Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are also issues that affect both men and women, but are very important to men’s health, Trowbridge said.

Men are vulnerable to some diseases that women are not, such as low testosterone and colon cancer. Despite advances in medical technology and research, men continue to live an average of seven years less than women.

National Men’s Health Week is June 12 through June 18, and was established May 31, 1994, when the Senate Joint Resolution 179 (SJR 179) bill was signed by former President Bill Clinton.

The bill states that the appropriate use of blood pressure screens, cholesterol screens, and other tests, in conjunction with clinical examination and self-testing for problems such as testicular cancer can result in the detection of many of these problems in their early stages, significantly increasing survival rates.

Though getting regular checkups is important, living a healthy lifestyle can also contribute to overall health.

“It all starts with the right mindset. A good mindset will lead you to a happier and healthier lifestyle,” said Airman 1st Class Nikko Madarang, 721st Aerial Port Squadron passenger service specialist.

Passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, Madarang works to balance nutrition, exercise, and mental well-being every day.

“Watching my own family struggle with their health motivates me to not only want to help them, but to stay healthy because a lack of diet or fitness can lead to sickness, ultimately leading to improper work ethic. Balance is key.”

Getting good sleep, eating healthy, limiting or completely stopping tobacco use, limiting stress and staying active are steps men and boys can take to ensure they are staying healthy.

“Focus on foods that are fresh and not processed, and exercise is very important to both mind and body,” Trowbridge said. 

Men’s Health Month reminds Ramstein there are healthy productive ways to not only live a healthier lifestyle, but to prevent Airmen from missing the chance to live a longer one.