June 16, 2011                                    

Contact: Nikki Reen (267.295.3859 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

 New Data Finds Worrying Trends in Men’s Health

PHILADELPHIAA man’s perception of the state of his health can be far different from his actual health status. New data just released from Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) shows that while men report overall better health than women, chronic diseases affect them more than women and they show an earlier rate of morbidity than their female counterparts.  “These data tell us that the need to provide more effective services to the male population should remain a priority among health professionals,” says Francine Axler, director of CHDB and senior research associate.

 According to CHDB’s 2010 Household Health Survey of Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA), 15% of men 18 years of age and older were in fair or poor health. Selected key findings from the 2010 Household Health Survey describe the health status, use of services and health promotion behaviors of adult males in the region. CHDB data showed that a substantial number of men in SEPA suffer from chronic health conditions and that the percentage of men affected in 2010 has increased from past years. Selected findings about the affect of chronic conditions on men’s health indicate:

  • 32.7% of men have high blood pressure, 11% have diabetes and 11.4% have a diagnosed mental condition
  • Four out of 10 men below the poverty line have high blood pressure
  • More than one out of five men in the region are obese (22.1%) and 44.9% are overweight

 Chronic health conditions vary with income level, race, health behaviors and access to health insurance.

 The survey also studied certain health behaviors of men in SEPA, which can impact the incidence or severity of health conditions. For example, smoking continues to be a worrying behavior with one in five men age 18 years and older smoking cigarettes (20.9%).  The good news is that almost half have tried to quit in the past year (46.1%).  An initiative from PHMC affiliate National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC) addresses the problem by bringing a smoking cessation program to primary care centers with a high number of chronic disease patients.  Participants with chronic diseases have significantly reduced their smoking rates; for example, 41% of participants who finish the program quit smoking by the end of class and 58% decreased their smoking, according to NNCC deputy director Nancy De Leon Link.

 In addition to measuring the health behaviors of men, the 2010 Household Health Survey also looked at how men use health services. The survey found that men often are unaware of health problems because they are less likely than women to use the health care system.

  • In SEPA, more than one out of five men did not go to a doctor in the year prior to the survey (19.9%, versus 11.2% of women)  and 13% do not have a regular source of care.  Also, more than 12% of men in SEPA do not have health insurance coverage, representing 145,300 men.
  • Nearly one-third of Latino men are uninsured (34.8%), a number higher than black (18.3%), Asian (12.1%) and white (6.7%) men.
  • Many men in Southeastern Pennsylvania do not receive potentially life saving exams.  Four out of ten men 50 years of age and older have not had a prostrate exam in the past year (41.9%).  26.1% have never had a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.

 The survey data provide an in-depth look at the state of men’s health in SEPA. They indicate a strong need to increase targeted health messages to men and focus on how men of varying ages, incomes and backgrounds are affected.

 To access the full findings on men’s health in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact Francine Axler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215.985.2521.

 CHDB’s Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. The Pew Charitable Trusts; William Penn Foundation; United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania; United Way of North Penn; CIGNA Foundation; Green Tree Community Health Foundation; Philadelphia Foundation; North Penn Community Health Foundation and the Thomas Scattergood Foundation and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors help to support the CHDB. To view previous data news releases, please click here. For more information, please visit



About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce.  PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit