Men's Health in Australia

Article By: James Lamkin 23/10/2017

Men’s Health in Australia

Many men in Australia are resigned to the well-known fact that they are not likely to live as long as their female counterparts. This is indeed true, with a boy born in 2015 expected to live until 80 years, whilst a female born at the same time can expect to live to 84 years.[1]

Every November, thanks to the strength of the Movember campaign for men’s health, we get to consider what is affecting the male half of our society. The health concerns for men are widespread and certainly not limited to just "beer bellies" or common diseases, such as diabetes.

What are the biggest health issues for men in Australia?

  • 71% of Australian adult males are overweight or obese [1]
  • 51% of Australian adult males do insufficient physical activity [1]
  • Australian males are 3x more likely to commit suicide than females [2]

What needs to be addressed?

To help improve the face of men’s health in Australia, we need to:

  • Encourage males to become more physically active and eat a healthier diet
  • Reduce the stigma of mental health issues amongst men
  • Encourage males to visit their GP or seek health checks more regularly

These matters can potentially be traced back to what may be considered a core aspect of masculinity: self-reliance. The idea that one can look after themselves and seeking assistance from others is viewed as a weakness. A 2016 study identified that self-reliance is a key risk factor in suicidal thinking.[3] This inherent belief in self-reliance may also explain why 61% of Australian men do not engage in regular health check-ups.[4] This represents a key missed opportunity to prevent, or at least intervene, in the health issues that are widely affecting males.

What can you do in the workplace?

With the average Australian male spending over 30 hours a week in their workplace, this represents a great opportunity for employers to invest in the health of their staff members. Services provided within the convenient space of the workplace can potentially help to engage males who may not be proactive in seeking health services outside of work hours. Encourage healthy habits amongst the males in your workplace, contact SMG Health on 1300 657 644 for workplace health initiatives you can provide for your staff or co-workers.

 


 References:

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Life Expectancy Hits a New High, issued: 27/10/2016

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia 2015, issued: 28/09/2016

[3] J Pirkis et al., Masculinity and Suicidal Thinking, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 52(3); p. 319-327

[4] M Schlichthorst et al. Why do Men go to the Doctor? Socio-demographic and lifestyle factors associated with healthcare utilisation among a cohort of Australian men, BMC Public Health16(3)

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