Information at libraries to focus on men’s health

Men’s health issues will be highlighted on Nov. 10 as the Ocean County Health Department and the Ocean County Library co-sponsor the first Handsome in Blue day, according to Edward Rumen, health department spokesman. To help foster awareness of the issues, residents are being asked to wear blue on that day.

“There is a need among men to increase their knowledge of health issues affecting them. Some may not even be aware of such issues. This day will serve as a reminder to men that they need to take care of their bodies and that they should be concerned about their health,” Rumen said. “All too often, men tend to ignore a health problem or condition until it reaches a crisis point or they end up in the emergency department at the local hospital with a heart attack.”

Rumen noted national statistics show that men, on average, die six years sooner than women.

“A report published in 2000, called ‘Out of Touch: American Men and the Health Care System,’ found that 24 percent of men surveyed had not been to a doctor in the previous year, as compared to 8 percent for women. Among men 50 years and older, 60 percent had not been screened for colon cancer and 41 percent had not been screened for prostate cancer during the past year,” he said.

“Based upon their age and race, men can face different health challenges than women,” said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Board of Health. “Hand-some in Blue day is an excellent way of informing men about their specific health needs and risks and at the same time, suggest ways of improving their quality of life by following a healthier lifestyle.”

All branches of the Ocean County Library will feature an area with suggested readings on men’s health. The health department will provide informational sheets on a variety of men’s health issues. Topics will include preventing heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight control, exercise, cancers, including self-testing for testicular cancer, alcohol consumption, tobacco use and other subjects relating to men’s health.

“The library has many resources offering valuable insights on men’s health,” said chief librarian Mary O. Malagiere. “The books we have on display for Handsome in Blue day are only a sampling of our vast collection that covers a variety of health issues important to men and to their families. We encourage all men to come visit us to learn more about their health.”