A new survey released by the American Academy of Family Physicians reports that 49% of men rate their health as excellent or very good, up from 42% in 2007.
However, the survey also found that 48% have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, an increase from 42% in 2007. In addition, many men still spend a considerable amount of time in front of a screen, including approximately 20 hours in front of a computer at work and 19 hours in front of a television each week, according to the AAFP. In 2007, men reported spending 26 hours each week working at a computer.
“The survey results are a mixed bag,” Wanda Filer, MD, MBA, president of the AAFP, said in a press release. “We have some good and some bad. Essentially, the survey shows that not feeling sick is not necessarily the same as being healthy.”
The 2016 online survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the AAFP, polled 916 men across the United States about their health behaviors. A similar AAFP poll was conducted in 2007, among 1,157 male participants.
The 2016 findings also include:
- Men are paying more attention to exercise, with 52% reporting regular physical activity, compared with 38% in 2007;
- 79% of men have a regular physician or health care professional they see when they are sick or are seeking medical advice, up from 74% in 2007; and
- 59%, compared to 58% in 2007, reported experiencing barriers to seeing a physician, the most common being the notion that only the “extremely sick” should go to the doctor (31%, down from 36% in 2007), and a feeling that they had no reason to see a doctor because they were health (21%, down from 23% in 2007);
According to Filer, the increase in the number of men reporting at least one chronic condition may be attributable to more men going to see a physician and learning about a previously unknown health issue. That, she added, could have led them to begin exercising more regularly.
“Men have begun paying more attention to their health and acting to maintain good health,” Filer said in the press release. “They are getting physical exams, increasing their exercise activity and getting their health care from their regular doctor. All of these are good. Research consistently shows that preventive care helps avoid serious illness, exercise is the best way to maintain healthy hearts and weight, and having a regular doctor prevents fragmented or duplicated care.”