Sunday, June 4, 2023
    HomeHealthLosing the men in our lives to poor health

    Losing the men in our lives to poor health

    We love the men in our lives — our fathers, sons, husbands, partners, brothers and friends. But when it comes to keeping them healthy, we’re falling short.

    Across the life span — from infancy to the teen years, midlife and old age — boys and men are more likely to die than girls and women. The result is a growing longevity gap between men and women. In the United States, life expectancy in 2021 was 79.1 years for women and 73.2 years for men. That 5.9-year difference is the largest gap in a quarter-century.

    This finding is surprising to many people. And it should be. It’s true that for years health research focused on men, and women and gender minorities were largely excluded. But that has changed as a result of advocacy efforts, particularly by women.

    But the advantages men have in society — higher wages, more power in government and business, representation in health research — have not translated into better health. You can read more about this in our story “A silent crisis in men’s health gets worse.”

    I would also encourage you to read the comments. It’s startling how many people are offended by the idea that men are suffering. Others say the longevity gap is simply due to biology — and we should just accept it. But I think we can do more. We can start by teaching boys and male teens healthy habits and the importance of seeing a doctor — just as we do with girls. Men should seek annual physicals with a doctor they trust. We should encourage everyone in our lives to improve their diet, exercise, reduce stress and build social connections. And medical research focusing on sex differences will help everyone. I’ll leave you with this reader comment.

    “It takes work to maintain good health as you age,” the reader wrote. “And a lot of men that I know view their body as a tool that only gets attention when it breaks.”

    Read more. You’ll also find a number of stories about men and boys in our special report on men’s health, which you can find at the end.

    Test your disability bias

    Ableism is rooted in the belief that being able-bodied is the ideal, and that people who are disabled are worse off than you. Take our new quiz “Are you ableist?” to explore seven scenarios that could reflect ableist thinking. The quiz was created with the input of 25 disabled activists and scholars.

    Take each scenario at face value. There are always variables that can affect your answers, but try to pick the answer that you think best reflects how you might act in a real-world situation. You can also change your answers to learn more about why certain scenarios reflect ableist thinking. As you can see in the comments, a lot of readers have been frustrated by the answers.

    While we can’t capture every nuance of ableist thinking in one quiz, the goal of this exercise is to make you think. After all, challenging your own biases isn’t supposed to be easy.

    How AI has helped patients get their voices back

    A lot of people are worried about the risks of artificial intelligence, but AI also has tremendous potential to make our lives better. That’s the case for patients with ALS and other diseases that can cause someone to lose their ability to speak. AI technology has made it faster, easier and more affordable to “bank” your voice and create a computer-generated version that sounds more like your real one.

    Meet the people who are using these AI-generated voices to live their lives to the fullest. The story is best enjoyed with sound on.

    Patients were told their voices could disappear. They turned to AI to save them.



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