Ok so last month the blog was very “pink” but October has turned to November and there are two initiatives focused on men’s health that deserve some attention. In the name of gender equality I’ll share some info about MOVEmber and No Shave November.
The Movember Foundation is a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, millions have joined the men’s health movement, raising $650 million and funding over 1,000 programs focusing on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.
Why men’s health?
The state of men’s health is in a crisis. Simply put, men are dying too young.
Gender is one of the strongest and most consistent predictors of health and life expectancy. For men, this is not good news. On average, across the world, men die 6 years earlier than women.
Moreover, poor mental health effects men more than women: three-quarters of suicides are by men. The World Health Organization estimates that 510,000 men die from suicide globally each year. That’s one every minute.
The impact of prostate and testicular cancer on lives is substantial, with prostate cancer being the second most common cancer in men worldwide and the number of cases expected to almost double to 1.7 million cases by 2030.
Yet this gender-based inequality in health has received little national, regional or global acknowledgement or attention from health policy-makers or healthcare providers. This is exactly why the Movember Foundation focuses on men’s health. This is why Mo Bros and Mo Sistas from across the globe become a united voice every Movember, bringing vital funding and attention to the hidden men’s health crisis.
This is not just an issue for men. In order to tackle the problem and work towards a world where future generations of men are not faced with the same issues as today, we need to take action at both an individual and community level. This means engaging men and women, businesses, sporting groups, community organizations, governments, health policy makers and healthcare providers in the efforts to reduce the current gender inequality in health outcomes.
What is the purpose of No Shave November?
No Shave November is, as the name implies, an annual tradition in which men don’t shave for the entire month of November, growing facial hair in the name of raising awareness of men’s prostate health, to promote manliness, or just because. Women can also participate by not shaving their legs and/or armpits. No Shave November has its roots in the slightly older Movember, the international version in which men grow mustaches in the month of November to promote prostate cancer awareness. Movember, however, allows participants to shave their beard and trim their mustache, where No Shave November doesn’t allow shaving of any sort. The tradition of No Shave November is viewed by some as a response to wearing pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness during the month of October.
Movember began in Australia in 1999 and quickly spread throughout the world. Soon Americans had begun celebrating No-Shave November. No Shave November’s rules are simple yet firm. On October 31st male participants are to shave off all facial hair(or any other hair they wish to remove in observance of the tradition), and women are to shave off all leg and/or armpit hair. Participants are encouraged to take a photo at this point to prove their clean-shaveness and to compare before/after photos at the end of the month. During the month of November no shaving, trimming, or waxing is allowed.
Two worthwhile causes to raise awareness and to raise money. I pledge to make a donation to the GVMH Foundation in honor of one GVMH staff member who participates and has the best before and after picture. Let’s grow some hair and let’s spread the word about men’s health especially the importance of prostate and testicular exams.