Accelerating Health Equity for Men of Color

There is an ongoing, increasing and predominately silent crisis in the health and well-being of men.  Due to a lack of awareness, poor health education, and certain culturally induced behavior patterns in their work and personal lives, men’s health and well-being are deteriorating steadily.  Society is being dramatically affected both at home and in the workplace because men are living approximately 5 years less than women.[1]

June is Men’s Health month. Health outcomes among boys and men continue to be substantially worse than among girls and women, yet this gender-based disparity in health has received little national acknowledgement or attention. This is particularly true for men of color. Men of color in almost every state continue to fare worse than white men on a variety of measures of health, health care access and other social determinants of health.[2] The Kaiser Foundation’s Report, PUTTING MEN’S HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES ON THE MAP: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level, documents the persistence of such disparities between white men and men of color “” and among different groups within men of color on 22 indicators of health and well-being, including rates of chronic diseases such as, cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as insurance coverage and health screenings.

An individual’s health outcomes and utilization of health care are influenced by numerous factors beyond health insurance status. While many health promotion interventions have focused on personal behaviors (e.g., smoking, diet, nutrition, help seeking), evidence show that social factors (e.g. early life experiences, work environment, housing, and neighborhood characteristics) can have a direct or indirect influence on health outcomes.[3] These social determinants of health must be an integral part of chronic disease and health promotion interventions for men of color.

The US Office of Minority Health is raising awareness about health disparities that affect boys and men of color. OMH is also raising the dialogue on efforts to ensure that all men achieve better health outcomes. Men’s Health month is a reminder for men to take steps to be healthier. It is also a reminder for chronic disease directors to expand their programs to facilitate accelerating health equity for men. For more information about how to accelerate health equity for men of color, visit: http://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/content.aspx?ID=10238&lvl=2&lvlid=12

Participate in NACDD President’s Health Equity Challenge by signing the health equity pledge. For strategies to incorporate men’s health equity into chronic disease and health promotion programs in your state contact Steve Owens, sowens@chronicdisease.org.



[1] Men’s Health Network (2016) Wear Blue Campaign.

[2] Kaiser Foundation (2012) Putting Men’s Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level.

[3] Braveman, Paula A., Susan A. Egerter, and Robin E. Mckenhaupt. “Broadening the Focus: The Need to Address the Social Determinants of Health.”