Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of National Men's Health Week


This year marks 20 years since National Men's Health Week (NMHW) was passed by Congress and signed by President William Jefferson Clinton. NMHW was sponsored by Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Bill Richardson and is celebrated each year as the week that ends on Father's Day--June 9 to 15 in 2014.

Recognizing that many health problems that affect men can be prevented, the week was designed to encourage men, boys, and their families to develop positive health attitudes, engage in preventive behaviors, lead healthy lifestyles, and seek timely medical advice and care.

"I feel honored to have contributed to the passage of National Men's Health Week 20 years ago," said Bob Dole, former Senator from Kansas, who co-authored the NMHW legislation. "I thought it was important to recognize this awareness period then, and I think it's important to do so now. I am pleased to see all the progress made over the last two decades in dealing with the health and well-being of men and boys.  I invite all men to become more involved with their health by visiting their health practitioner this season and by becoming better informed of health risks and preventive services."

This important awareness period was built around the four pillars of Awareness-Prevention-Education-Family, and has resulted in countless campaigns that focus on raising awareness about health issues affecting men, boys, and their families.

"As we celebrate 20 years since the passage of National Men's Health Week, I reiterate my support and endorsement for men and boys' health and well-being," said former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who introduced legislation which led to the passage of this law. "This awareness period does not concern men alone, but is also a family matter. I also want to encourage all men, and especially dads, to become role models for their children and health leaders in the community."

Men's Health Network is proud to report that in the 20 years since its passage, NMHW has encouraged the development of thousands of health awareness activities throughout the month of June, both in the USA and around the globe. Corporations, hospital systems, clinics, the faith-based community, the public sector, and others use the month of June to highlight their services and reach out to men and their families.

Following the lead of Congress, governors of the states, joined by mayors of over 40 cities, have issued proclamations creating Men's Health Week in their jurisdictions.  Those can be viewed at menshealthmonth.org/week/proclamation.html

The 20 years of activity have seen encouraging improvements in the health and well-being of men and boys, with a dramatic improvement in life expectancy and surprising drops in key mortality indicators.  There has been a steep drop among males in overall mortality and corresponding improvements in the mortality rates for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Tables illustrating those improvements can be found here.

Men's Health Network led a European meeting of global health activists in 2002 that resulted in activists in other countries adopting the same period of the year for their annual awareness activities. The International Men's Health Week page, with a list of some of those countries, can be found here.

Source: Men's Health Network, menshealthnetwork.org