What I learnt from Men’s Health Week 2016

Men’s health week has come and gone for another year. The celebrations, education and initiatives were all monumental and over the top as to be expected on such a week. Kidding aside, I would be surprised if you actually heard about it. The fact that it was such a lackluster event could be coincidence or it could be an accurate representation of the current state of health in Australia that sees men die on average 5 years earlier than women (for children born in 2010, it’s closer to 4.3 years — 78.0 years vs 82.3 years). Here are some reasons why as a broader community we should be embracing Men’s Health Week next year to make it one of the biggest events on the health calendar.

  • Men take their own lives at four times the rate of women (that’s five men a day, on average).

  • Certain cancers such as skin and lung effect men at a rate of 2.6 and 2 times (respectively) more than women.

  • Ischemic heart disease is 1.7 times more likely to kill men than women and roughly 127 men in every 100 000.

  • Men are 3 and a half times more likely to die in transportation related accidents.

  • Men born in rural and remote areas are disadvantaged in life expectancy by 3.4 years compared with their metropolitan born counterparts.

  • AND…. Less than 2 in 5 men achieve enough exercise.

Now despite these damning statistics, no one could argue that the average Australian male has a particularly disadvantaged life, but this is part of the problem. Hopefully we can change our perception and stop believing that near enough is good enough when it comes to 50% of the population’s health.

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