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3 Tips to Get Your Husband to See a Doctor
Having trouble getting your hubby to take a physical exam? Try these tips to get him going.

When it comes to health, there's nothing manly about not taking care of yourself and being sick.

From the moment a male is born statistics show that, on average, he will live a shorter life span than his female counterpart by about 5 years. Why? Males have higher rates in 12 of the 15 leading causes of death. Forget the old joke that a married man wants to die. According to a new study of roughly 1,000 middle-age men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957 presented at a meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco, the reason he dies first is because of the "ideals" of masculinity. The more manly he feels, the less likely he is to seek preventative medical care. Then oops itís too late.

A manly man sucks up the pain and will not go into a doctorís office where he might be unable to hide his fear. He stands at the top of the hierarchy, and we all know that leaders do not tremble with white coat hypertension or fail their stress tests. Moreover, when it concerns his meal plan, his comfort food is red meat.

"This research strongly suggests that deep-seated masculinity beliefs are one core cause of menís poor health, inasmuch as they reduce compliance with recommended preventative health services," says Kristen W. Springer, the studyís primary investigator, an assistant professor of sociology at Rutgers University. Note: Highly educated men with the strongest-held masculinity beliefs were just as unlikely to obtain preventative care as men with lower levels of education.

If your spouse thinks heís a manly man who doesnít think he needs to get a yearly physical, what can you do? Here are a few tips: 1. Appeal to his competitive need to be at the top of the hierarchy. "Honey, you are so important to me blah, blah, blah, I want you to be around for a long time."

2. As CEO of the household, you can schedule his appointments just like you schedule all social engagements. Donít talk about it; just make the appointment with the doctor. Go along with him not to hold his brave hand, but because, "I am concerned." He will go to allay your fears.

3. Make a game out of it and sneak in some healthy nutrition. For example, if he likes red meat, grill a lean cut and position it between two slices of multi-grain bread. Then stealthily add some vegetables like roasted peppers, arugula, tomato and onions. If you use cheese, get a low-fat version. Disguise the fruits, veggies and aim for a rainbow array. For example, mash a potato along with cauliflower and add some fat free milk. Season it well. Who is to know? Eventually, his taste buds will change. When it comes to healthy ingredients, you donít need to fully disclose themóthe way you donít tell the kids how healthy the food is. Call it a special recipe for living.

Since women are competing with men on all fronts and trying to equalize the playing field, some women are behaving like men with regard to preventative health care, which results in a shorter life span for them too. When it concerns women's health: Embrace your feminine side!

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of "Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life," a stress-management specialist, the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City, produces a wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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