“What’s that fuzz under your nose?” “Is that a new look for you?” “Trying to bring back the Tom Selleck look?” “Is that the iconic Mr. Clean growing a mustache?”
Those are just a few comments men are hearing from their families, friends, and colleagues during November. And that’s the point—to get people talking about why men are growing mustaches this month.
Turning November into Movember
Movember is a global initiative to heighten awareness of men’s health issues. It began in Australia in 2003. In 2010 in the United States, 64,500 men and women joined Movember, and they raised $7.5 million. More and more people are talking about how important it is for men to pay closer attention to their health.
Globally, Movember focuses on men’s health in general, which makes sense when you think of the number of men who are diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and mental illness. In addition to those men living with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, it critically important to heighten awareness of preventive health measures men can take. Movember’s primary focus, however, is raising awareness about and raising money for prostate cancer.
Raising awareness for men’s health
According to a Movember study, the US campaign has successfully raised awareness of men’s health issues. It has also convinced men to take a more proactive approach to their health. When Movember participants were surveyed:
- 96 of 100 spent time thinking about improving their general health
- 87 of 100 understood that their health depends on how well they take care of themselves
- 86 of 100 had a general checkup
- 77 of 100 discussed men’s health with their family, friends, or colleagues during Movember
- 64 of 100 worried about their general health
- 59 of 100 carried out personal research on men’s health issues during Movember
Despite this progress, the research shows that 1 of 2 men would rather ignore a health-related issue than go to a doctor.
Supporting Movember at HealthEd
riThis is HealthEd’s first year supporting the Movember movement. Several Mo Bros (as they are called) are growing mustaches, and their Mo Sistas are supporting their Mo Bros' trials and tribulations.
You know the initiative is taking hold when the women (and men) in the office have brought home the information to their spouses, partners, brothers, fathers, and sons. Some of these men have joined Movember and are growing mustaches too.
Last week a staff member brought her 12-year-old son to the office. He proudly shared that he knew all about Movember because his teacher was growing a mustache for the cause. It is important for all men, young and old, to talk about and take action when it comes to their health.
Learning is step 1
The first step is to learn about diseases that have a big impact on men, and how those conditions can affect men’s physical and emotional well-being. Men, and those who care about them, need to:
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of the disorders
- Learn about screening tests for early detection
- Make lifestyle changes to prevent or manage illnesses
Helping men take action is step 2
To move someone to action means changing his or her attitudes and beliefs. With its resources, open discussions, and support, the Movember movement can help men change their behaviors and improve their health by motivating them to:
- Go to regular well-care visits
- Perform appropriate self-exams
- Discuss health risk factors with their healthcare provider
- Eat a balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Stop smoking
- Limit their use of alcohol
At HealthEd, we apply the Health Belief model in educating our staff about men’s health issues. In the process of developing newsletters to share with staff, family, and friends, we consider the basic constructs of the model:
- Perceived susceptibility
- Perceived severity
- Perceived benefits
- Perceived barriers
- Cues to action
Some people think that because we are a healthcare marketing agency, the staff is more aware than others of men’s health and health concerns in general. And that the men of HealthEd are being proactive in their care. While our men may have a heightened awareness of the issues, Movember can reinforce what our staff already knows and inspire them to take action for better health.
Senior Vice President, Health Education