At every stage of life, men are encouraged to consider three equally important aspects of their health—physical health, mental health and social connection. Men’s Health Week and Men’s Health Month raise awareness of how these aspects work together and remind men to take charge of their health.

What is Men’s Health Week?

National Men’s Health Week was established in 1994 as a special campaign to help educate men, boys and their families about the importance of positive health attitudes and preventive health practices. Today, the week is observed around the world as International Men’s Health Week and begins on the Monday before Father’s Day in June and ends on Father’s Day itself.

The aims of the week are to heighten awareness of preventable health problems for males of all ages, to support men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyle choices and to encourage the early detection and treatment of diseases like cancer, heart disease and depression.

What is Men’s Health Month?

Men’s Health Month in the United States is observed every June. This month aims to raise awareness of the same health concerns of Men’s Health Week but lasts the whole month. It is different from Movember, which is held in November and focuses on men’s mental health as well as prostate cancer. During the month of June, men are encouraged to set goals for their own health and wellness and begin to create a roadmap for achieving those goals.

The physical aspect of men’s health

Men 15-65 years of age are significantly less likely than women to seek preventive care services, and they are more likely to report not having a primary care provider. A good first step on the path toward improved health is to make a call and establish with a primary care provider (PCP). A PCP will review medical, surgical and family history and recommend age- and risk-appropriate health screenings.

Recommended screenings for young men (18-39)

Men in this age range are encouraged to discuss the health concerns below with their doctors. These discussions can be part of a yearly annual wellness visit. While you may think you don’t need some of these tests, establishing a base line can be useful for continued health monitoring as you age, or as more acute health concerns arise.

  • Physical exam: check blood pressure, screen for obesity and assess body composition (waist circumference). Testicular exam and testicular self-exam are important at this age.
  • Metabolic screening: fasting blood sugar and fasting lipid profile based on risk and family history.
  • Vaccines: influenza, COVID-19, Hepatitis A/B, HPV, Tdap and MMR should be considered.
  • STI screening: HIV, Hepatitis B/C, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia screening should be considered, and pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PreP) should be discussed.
  • Assessment of risky behaviors: discuss any use of tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, anabolic steroids, as well as use of seatbelts and helmets and gun safety.
  • Family planning: “pre-conception” counseling to educate men that adopting a healthy lifestyle—exercising, eating healthy foods, and avoiding substances—at an early age improves the chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child.

Recommended screenings for adult men over 40

These screenings are similar to those recommended for younger men but start to look at health concerns that most often appear in middle age. 

  • Physical exam: check blood pressure, screen for obesity, measure body composition and consider prostate exam (in some cases).
  • Metabolic screening: fasting blood sugar and fasting lipid profile and estimation of cardiovascular risk.
  • Vaccines: influenza, covid-19, Hepatitis A/B, HPV (through age 45), Tdap and MMR. Shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over 50.
  • STI screening: HIV, Hepatitis B/C, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia screening should be considered, and pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PreP) should be discussed. 
  • Cardiovascular screening: based on risk and symptoms (may include stress testing or coronary artery calcium score).
  • Cancer screening: based on family history and personal risks. May include prostate, colon and lung cancer screening as well as skin exam.
  • Eye exam.

Recommended screenings for adult men over 65

Older men should continue to evaluate their health and make lifestyle changes based on conversations with their doctors to ensure they are able to live life to the fullest.

  • Physical exam: blood pressure, height and weight, waist circumference and prostate exam.
  • Metabolic screening: fasting blood sugar, fasting lipid profile, thyroid function (in some cases).
  • Vaccines: influenza, covid-19, Hepatitis A/B, Tdap, Pneumovax/Prevnar and Shingles.
  • STI screening: based on risk.
  • Cardiovascular screening: abdominal ultrasound, coronary artery calcium score and stress testing based on risk and symptoms.
  • Cancer screening: prostate, colon and lung as well as skin exam.
  • Osteoporosis: screening should be considered in men over 70, men who lose height over time or have a low impact fracture. Fall risk assessment should be completed.
  • Eye exam.

The American Urology Association has published a Men’s Health Checklist with a detailed description of recommended health screenings for men of all ages.

A complete list of recommended adult vaccinations is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

Men’s Mental Health

Mental health is an important determinant of overall health and quality of life at every age. Although men are more likely to suffer “deaths of despair” including alcoholism, overdose and suicide, they are far less likely than women to seek out mental health services. Undiagnosed and untreated mood disorders in young men are associated with impaired learning, risk-taking behaviors, use of substances and violence. Adult men with chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease have worse outcomes when they also suffer from depression, and depression is associated with decreased longevity in older men.

Men should be aware of the symptoms of depression and anxiety and know when it’s time to seek help. Organizations like HeadsUpGuys, the National Black Men’s Health Network, Don’t Change Much and the Movember Foundation provide useful tips for self-care and have online self-assessment tools to help men know when it’s time to speak with a healthcare professional. Opening up about mental health and normalizing a discussion around depression, anxiety and suicide risk is something that men can do for themselves and for each other.

The Importance of Social Connection

Social connection is essential to our health and well-being, and an increasing number of Americans report loneliness and social isolation. Research shows that people who experience loneliness and isolation are at increased risk of heart disease, dementia, stroke, depression and anxiety. Lacking social connection can even increase the risk of premature death to levels comparable to smoking. On the other hand, maintaining social connection promotes better physical and mental health, eases stress and even promotes a healthier immune system. Taking simple steps like answering a phone call from a friend, inviting someone to share a meal or volunteering in your community can help you to feel connected. The US Surgeon General recently issued a first-of-its kind advisory on the epidemic of loneliness and isolation. In it, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy outlines actions that we can take on a national, local and individual level to help us all stay connected.

Men’s Health Month is the perfect time to chart your course to improved health. Keep up with health screenings and listing to your body when symptoms come up. Make mental health a priority and take steps to manage stress and stay connected.

For more health and wellness tips, visit the Lifespan Living blog.

The Men's Health Center

The Men's Health Center at The Miriam Hospital is dedicated to sexual health and andrology, and is the first center of its kind in the United States. The center provides expert care for issues with sexual performance, sexual dysfunction after prostate surgery, gender dysphoria, Klinefelter syndrome, and low sexual desire.