American author, Henry David Thoreau, is considered one of the most influential figures in American thought and philosophy. He was highly individualistic and supported the human spirit, challenging it to be free of materialism and social conformity. He said many things, but here’s an interesting Thoreau quote: Every man is the builder of a temple called his body.
How true—and it appears that men are stepping up to the challenge. “Men now have a choice of their own skin care products, hair care products, supplements, vitamins and more,” said Steve Siegel, vice president, Ecuadorian Rainforest (ER), Belleville, NJ. Siegel suggests that this trend is a result of manufacturers realizing that women aren’t the only ones concerned about their health.
It doesn’t stop there, either. June is "Men’s Health Month" (MHN) and is being highlighted across the country with screenings, media appearances, health fairs and health education in an effort to raise awareness of what men and boys can do to maintain and maximize their health.
It’s about time, too.
For years, there’s been awareness on women’s health issues through various organizations, so it’s time for men to get the same attention. An MHN spokesperson sums it up: “There is an ongoing, increasing and predominantly silent crisis in the health and well-being of American men. Due to a lack of awareness, poor health education and a paucity of male-specific health programs, men’s health and well-being are deteriorating steadily."
"The deterioration of men’s health is best illustrated by the life-expectancy gap. In 1920, the life expectancy difference between men and women was one year but by 1990 that had increased to over five years with men having a higher death rate from each of the leading causes of death,” the spokesperson concludes.
Men may be taking note of this, too.
According to the Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) “Health & Wellness Trends Survey,” men surveyed (by percentages) are looking to support heart health (29%), blood pressure health (28%), healthy cholesterol levels (31%), joint health (24%), healthy digestion (23%), healthy weight (25%), healthy blood sugar levels (22%), eye health (20%), and a healthy response to allergens (22%). Overall, men were particularly interested in managing stress, energy levels and mental health.
When asked what nutrients they’d like to get more of in their diet, 60% of the men said antioxidants, while 59% said vitamins and minerals. Another 57% said fiber, 53% said omega-3s, and 52% said whole grains.
What are men already supplementing their diets with? Fifty-three percent already take multivitamins/minerals, while only 20% said they were already taking omega-3s. Vitamin D users come in at 18%, with calcium not far behind at 17%. Antioxidants weigh in at 14%, B vitamins at 14% and glucosamine/chondroitin at 12%.
Cheryl Sturm, director of marketing at Embria Health Sciences, says, “According to the latest data from NMI, 42% of men now take condition-specific dietary supplements,” she said. “The same study points out that men are more likely than women to choose the highest quality of brand/product regardless of cost.” They’re turning to warehouse/club stores, convenience stores and specialty/gourmet outlets as well as online to get products, too.
Here's the takeaway: men are paying more attention to their health, and it’s attention well-deserved.