All this emphasis on the health of boys and men - what's that about? They're alright, aren't they?
In many cases, the answer is no.
A boy born in Australia in 2010 has a life expectancy of 78.0 years while a baby girl born at the same time could expect to live to 82.3 years old. Right from the start, boys suffer more illness, more accidents and die earlier than their female counterparts.
Men take their own lives at four times the rate of women (that's five men a day, on average). Accidents, cancer and heart disease all account for the majority of male deaths.
Seven leading causes are common to both males and females, although only Ischaemic heart diseases share the same ranking in both sexes (1st). Malignant neoplasms of prostate (6th), Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue (7th) and Intentional self-harm (10th) are only represented within the male top 10 causes. Malignant neoplasms of breast (6th), Heart failure (9th) and Diseases of the urinary system (10th) are only represented in the female top 10 causes of death:
| Deaths per 100,000 of population (2015) |
| Cause of death || Male || Female |
| Ischaemic heart diseases || 38.9 || 47.4 |
| Dementia and Alzheimer disease || 35.4 || 42.9 |
| Cerebrovascular diseases || 35 || 35.5 |
| Chronic lower respiratory diseases || 32.7 || 23.8 |
| Malignant neoplasm of prostate || 25.5 || - |
| Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue || 20 || |
| Diabetes mellitus || 19.6 || 13.1 |
| Intentional self-harm || 19.3 || |
| Colon cancer || 18.8 || 13.3 |
| Diseases of urinary system || || 10.3 |
| Heart failure || || 10.7 |
| Malignant neoplasm of breast || || 20.1 |
| Cancer of trachea, bronchus and lung || || 23.5 |
Greatest sex ratios within the 20 leading causes of death, 2015
The above figures are taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Furthermore, there are specific populations of marginalised men for whom the health status is far worse even that this.
These marginalised groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, refugees, men in prison or newly released from prison and men of low socioeconomic standing.
Men's Health Week has a direct focus on the health impacts of men's and boys' environments. It serves to ask two questions:
- What factors in men's and boy's environments contribute to the status of male health as indicated in the table above?
- How can we turn that around and create positive environments in men's and boy's lives?