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For Release: May 29, 2008
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Oklahoma Men Called to Focus on Cardiovascular and Reproductive Health
Celebrate Men’s Health Week, June 9-15

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is celebrating National Men’s Health Week, June 9-15. The theme, “Stay Tough! Stay Healthy!” helps call attention to the importance of men’s health.

“We want to encourage men to make their health a top priority. Men are more likely than women to be uninsured or underinsured,” said Secretary of Health and State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher. “Men need to visit their doctor and make sure their health screenings, tests and immunizations are up-to-date.”

Men often forget that preventive healthcare such as testicular self-exams, PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood tests, colo-rectal cancer screenings, cholesterol and blood sugar checks are an important part of staying healthy. When a man is healthy, he reduces his likelihood of illness, injuries and depression, and he has lower absenteeism at work and may have reduced healthcare costs.

Specifically, Oklahoma is ranked 48th in the nation for cardiovascular disease death rates among men (402.7 deaths per 100,000). One in four Oklahoma men who die from heart disease will die before age 65. Stroke is also a primary health issue for Oklahoma men, with one in five deaths from stroke occurring before age 65.

Risk factors associated with these high rates of cardiovascular disease and stroke in Oklahoma include tobacco use, obesity, and physical inactivity, which contribute to the high mortality rates in Oklahoma, according to public health officials.

Another important area to focus on is reproductive health for men. More than half of the live births in Oklahoma were reported as unintended pregnancies. Effective family planning is crucial to reduce this high percentage.

“We believe there is a great need for more education for men of child-bearing age to understand their reproductive health and how to plan and prepare with their partners to have a healthy pregnancy and raise a healthy baby,” Dr. Crutcher said.

National Men’s Health Week also provides an opportunity for individuals to learn about the Strong and Healthy Oklahoma Initiative, which challenges all Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.

County health departments, Turning Point, and other community organizations have planned numerous activities in observance of National Men’s Health Week. Individuals are encouraged to contact their county health department to learn more about local events.

A toolkit for community organizations interested in planning an event for National Men’s Health Week is available on the OSDH Web site at http://mchs.health.ok.gov. Click on the “Men’s Health” link in the left column. For more information about National Men’s Health Week, visit http://www.menshealthweek.org/.

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