-- Alan Mozes
TUESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Many black men may not visit
their doctor because they find the interaction stressful and don't
feel physicians give them enough useful information on how to make
recommended lifestyle changes, new research suggests.
The findings stem from a series of focus groups with black
American men regarding their medical practitioners. The result:
doctors are viewed as coming up short when it comes to advice on
how to make healthy changes in behavior -- such as eating better,
exercising more or losing weight -- without sacrificing time with
When black men do go to the doctor, it's usually because they
have to get test results, or because a family member has urged them
to pay a visit, the study team found. And even then, the men
reported not liking the tone that doctors take with them.
Many said they already know they need to make these lifestyle
changes, but physicians did not seem to realize that these changes
involved difficult trade-offs.
"That's usually not the story that's told," lead author Derek Griffith, an assistant professor in the University of Michigan's School of Public Health, said in a university news release. "Too much emphasis is on the things that African American men don't do, rather than exploring why they don't do them."
In reality, he said, "many men want to adopt healthier
lifestyles but face significant challenges beyond health insurance
and the cost of care. They are concerned about their health and are
more knowledgeable about the changes they need to make than they
are often given credit for."
Griffith and his colleagues gleaned their observations from 14
focus groups, held at the University of Michigan campus, that
involved 105 middle-aged black men.
Much of the impetus for the work, the authors noted, comes from
the fact that while black men die seven years earlier, on average,
than men of other ethnicities in the United States, they are also
more likely to suffer from undiagnosed chronic health problems.
The group discussions revealed that black men feel that they
come to their doctor already armed with the knowledge that they
have to make dietary changes, lose weight and take up more physical
activity. What the majority said they rarely get is meaningful
assistance doing all of the above, without having to give up those
activities that are most important to them, such as spending time
with their spouses and children.
The findings suggest that doctors need to offer practical advice
to their black male patients to help them alter their lifestyles
while still placing value on the time they spend with their
families and communities, the study authors noted.
For more on minority health issues, visit the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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