A new report on men's health from the NSW Department of Health highlights some alarming differences between men and women.
o On average, men die six years earlier than women.
o After the first year of life, the death rate for boys is 35 per cent higher than girls.
o Fifty per cent of men in Australia are overweight, compared to one third of women.
o Men are more likely to have heart disease and cancer.
o Around twice as many men die of skin cancer than women.
o In people under 65, cigarette smoking causes around 40 per cent of deaths in men, compared to 20 per cent of deaths in women.
o Men are more likely to die or be seriously injured as a result of road accidents, falls, drownings, accidents at work, or violence.
o They are more likely to die of alcohol abuse.
o Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women.
The main reason is that men generally don't care for their health as much as women do. They're more likely to smoke or to drink too much alcohol, and eat a poorer diet. Compared to women, men eat less fruit and more fat. They're also more likely to ignore health problems rather than see a doctor.
Another reason is that men typically take more risks than women. They're more likely to work in hazardous occupations, for instance - which helps explain why 93 per cent of deaths at work happen to men. Sometimes taking risks is an unfortunate part of an occupation - such as firefighting - but too often, men take unnecessary risks. For example, on the roads it is often males who cause harm to themselves and others.
A good place to start is in families. Women have traditionally looked after the health of their partners and sons and encouraged them to take care of themselves - and probably always will. But now it's time for men to take action themselves, not only for their own sake, but for the sake of their children. Fathers who set a good example with a healthy lifestyle, and safe behaviour in areas like driving, drinking and sport are more likely to raise healthier sons.
Some men think caring for health isn't "masculine", and will often avoid seeking professional help or have regular health checks. But the truth is that men who eat healthy food, exercise regularly and get prompt treatment for health problems have a much better chance of staying strong and active than men who don't.
Source: NSW Health
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