Getting men in gowns

Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg
April 20, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
There's a new push to get men to wear gowns. As in the gowns you wear at the doctor's office.Seven's On Call with Dr. Jay Adlersberg.

The slightly tongue-in-cheek campaign to get men into medical gowns comes from a government health agency, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The reason for the campaign is that men are not going to the see their doctors for preventive care, and they need to.

"Real Men Wear Gowns" says the public service announcement debuted Monday, and it shows men in the gowns they should be donning more often, but aren't.

The agency says it wants to raise awareness and encourage men to learn which preventive medical tests they need and when they need them.

"What we'd like to see men take away from the campaign is that it's important for them to go seek health care not just when they're ill, but when they're well," said Dr. Ned Calonge, from the U.S. Preventative Services task force.

Research shows men are 25 percent less likely than women to visit a doctor, and they are 1.5 times more likely to die from a serious illness like heart disease and cancer. They are diseases that sometimes can be prevented, or can be more successfully treated when detected early.

And it's not just about a yearly physical.

"Research shows that an annual checkup isn't always that helpful," AHRQ director Dr. Carolyn Clarncy said. "It's much more about knowing which tests you need and when you need them."

Stewart Tatik says he finally went to the doctor because his girlfriend forced him to.

"It's really helped out a tremendous amount," he said. "They found out I was diabetic, put me on a glucophage pill. And life is much better. You lose weight, you change your diet, eat healthier, and it starts opening up when you do go."

Forcing men into gowns might take a female push.

"Nudge, make sure they go, know what they should do at whatever age it is and make sure they don't let things go," New Yorker Barbara Freitag said.

Experts say family members can help men with information and support. Sometimes, real men may need real women to get them to the doctors for testing.

For more information on questions to ask and how to prepare for your debut in a gown, visit