Why Men's Health?

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:

Standardised Death Rate   Percent Of Total Deaths
  Male Female Male:Female  Male Female
Underlying cause of death Per 100 000 Per 100 000 Ratio % %
Prostate cancer 31 - .. 4.1 ..
Suicide 16.1 4.4 3.6 2.3 0.7
Transport accidents 9.6 3.2 3 1.4 0.5
Skin cancer  12 4.7 2.6 1.7 0.9
Diseases of the liver 9.3 4 2.3 1.4 0.7
Parkinson's disease 7.8 3.7 2.1 1 0.8
Lung cancer 47.9 23.5 2 6.8 4.1
Ischaemic heart disease 126.7 72.7 1.7 16.9 15.9
Chronic lower respiratory disease 34.6 21 1.6 4.6 4.1
Stroke 49.5 47 1.1 6.4 10.3


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?

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