Getting Men to the Doctor

Celebrate Father’s Day this year by encouraging the men in your life to schedule a check-up.

While most men can tell you the maintenance schedule for their cars, few know how often they should visit the doctor at various ages. In fact, a recent survey of 2,282 men and women conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) found that 55 percent of men hadn’t had a physical examination in the past year. One in four men admitted they wait “as long as pos­sible” before seeking medical help. The medical implications, not to mention the financial impact, of these statistics can be devastating if not addressed. However, there is some hopeful news: 78 percent of men said their spouse or significant other had some influence over their decision to get to the doctor.

How best to influence the men in your life?

  • Try gently nudging, but never nagging, says the AAFP. Remember, you’re on the same team!
  • Warning him about health dangers may backfire. (Many men report that they mainly avoid the doctor out of fear that something may be wrong with them.)
  • Talk with him about positive experiences you‘ve had getting care and encourage him to talk with his own doctor about any concerns that have kept him from getting check-ups, including procedures he might feel are personally invasive.
  • Finally, remind him that getting accurate information— whether it’s a cholesterol reading or nutrition advice—is what will help empower him to stay in good health.

Once they agree to the appointment, preparation is key. Studies show that the average woman will ask four questions during a doctor’s appointment; the average man asks none. Patients should be sure to write down questions beforehand and have them ready to discuss with the doctor. Also, it is a good idea to bring an updated list of all medications with the dose, directions, reason for taking, and name of the physician who prescribed them.

Finally, it’s essential to compile knowledge about family health history. Patients should ask about family histories of cancers and heart disease. These can help identify certain health priorities, and may be helpful in establishing a routine screening calendar.


John Muir Health serves patients in Contra Costa, eastern Alameda and southern Solano Counties with a full-range of medical services.  It includes a network of 925 primary care and specialty physicians, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek and a Behavioral Health Center.  For more information, visit  To find a doctor at John Muir Health visit or call 925-952-2887, option 1 to speak with our physician referral team.