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Why Macho Men Have Bad Health

Whether they see themselves as tough or just self-reliant, men are less likely than women to seek routine, preventive medical care, like blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. Black men are even worse about this than whites--but for a DIFFERENT reason. This could be one of the reasons that women (in both races) tend to live longer than men.

A new study suggests that African-American men delay going to the doctor because they do not trust the health-care system, rather than because they feel the need to display their masculinity. Researcher Wizdom Powell Hammond says, "Men's concepts of what it means to be a 'real' man are generally shaped by traditional masculine role norms, which encourage men to be extremely self-reliant and these norms often affect their health behavior. We’ve seen in other studies that men with strong commitment to traditional masculine role norms delay health care because they don’t want to seem weak. "But this study shows that the opposite may be true for African-American men. Their delays in getting routine check-ups are attributable more to medical mistrust. Their beliefs about masculinity may not always have a negative impact on their use of health care."

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