81% of American Men Might Be Less Healthy Than They Perceive

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A recent survey conducted by the Cleveland Clinic sheds light on a significant disparity between American men’s perceived and actual health habits. While most men believe they are leading a healthy lifestyle, the survey reveals that their behaviors often do not align with this perception. This discrepancy poses concerns for men’s overall well-being and underscores the importance of addressing the issue. 

According to U.S. News and World Report, a staggering 81% of American men consider themselves to be living a healthy lifestyle. However, when delving into specific health practices, a different picture emerges. Half of these men do not receive yearly physical checkups (44%), neglect their mental health (44%), and only half claim to follow a healthy diet (51%). Alarmingly, about 27% of men admit to spending over five hours a day watching TV, becoming lazy people. 

Dr. Raevti Bole, a urologist with the Center for Men’s Health at the Cleveland Clinic, pointed out this apparent disconnect, saying, “What they found was that the majority of men in the survey really felt like they were living a very healthy lifestyle. But when you ask some of those more specific questions and get them to think about it, they found that some of those behaviors weren’t in alignment with what they had initially thought about how healthy their lifestyles were.” 

The Cleveland Clinic conducted this survey as part of its annual Mention It campaign, aiming to draw attention to the fact that men often avoid discussing health issues or taking preventative measures. One striking finding from the survey is that 83% of men reported experiencing stress in the past six months. However, a considerable proportion (65%) expressed hesitancy in seeking professional help for mental health concerns, such as stress, anxiety, and depression. 

Dr. Bole emphasized the interconnectedness of mental and physical health, stating, “Emotional health and mental health is not just something that is in your head. It can affect physical parts of your health as well.” Jennifer Thompson, director of communications at Men’s Health Network, reiterated this point, emphasizing the relationship between mental well-being and overall health. She noted that neglecting mental health can lead to neglect in other areas, such as hygiene and nutrition. 

The survey findings also highlight the tendency for this disconnect between perceived health and actual lifestyle to worsen as men age. Dr. Bole explained that as men get older, they may not immediately recognize symptoms or lifestyle changes that could lead to health issues. Therefore, she emphasized the importance of annual checkups as an opportunity for screenings and early detection of chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. 

The survey indicates that only around half of American men have been screened for common cancers, including prostate, colon, skin, testicular, and bladder cancers. Dr. Bole stressed the role of healthcare professionals in keeping track of necessary screenings, given the complexity of the guidelines for different age groups and risk factors. 

One potential solution to encourage men to prioritize their health is to link it to their sexual well-being. The survey revealed that over one-third of American men (37%) have experienced sexual health issues, yet only 40% of them sought professional help. Dr. Bole suggested that discussing the impact of preventative care on sexual health might motivate more men to seek checkups. 

Other notable findings from the survey include: 

  • Fathers are more likely to perceive themselves as leading a healthy lifestyle (87%) compared to non-parents (80%). 
  • Men spend an average of 2.3 hours each day on social media, with those hesitant to seek professional help for mental health issues being twice as likely to spend over five hours daily on social media. 
  • Approximately 54% of American men are dissatisfied with their current weight, with 50% actively working to achieve their desired weight. 
  • Only 56% of men realize that alcohol consumption may affect sexual health, and even fewer (43%) are aware of the negative impact of smoking. 
  • Stress is the most mentioned factor affecting sexual health (68%), followed by age (65%) and excessive weight (61%). 

The Cleveland Clinic’s survey paints a concerning picture of American men’s health behaviors, highlighting the need for increased awareness and action. Bridging the gap between perceived and actual health habits, encouraging regular checkups, and emphasizing the importance of mental and physical well-being are crucial steps in improving men’s overall health. 



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