Why African American men shun doctor visits
African Americans report physician visits are stressful and uninformative
A majority of African American men questioned say physicians don't give enough information on how to make changes in behavior and lifestyle, found in a new University of Michigan study.
Many African American men in the study said they knew they needed to lose weight, increase activity and make dietary changes, but they hoped they would get physician advice on how to make behavioral and lifestyle changes without impacting time spent with family.
"Too much emphasis is on the things that African American men don't do, rather than exploring why they don't do them. The reality is that 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", explains Derek Griffith, assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health and principal investigator of the study.
Among the 105 men questioned for the study, most said they didn't like the the way the doctor spoke to them. The most common reason given for even going to the doctor was for a test result or because of prompting from family members.
They also said physicians don't understand that healthy lifestyle changes mean giving up other important activities. The findings were obtained from 14 focus groups conducted with urban, middle-aged African American men in the Midwest, designed to understand why African American men don't like to go to the doctor.
The authors note African American men have shorter lifespans than other ethnic group and are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses, making it important for doctor's to offer more information on how to make needed lifestyle changes. Griffin says physicians need to understand their needs to make African American men more willing to go to the doctor.