Australian men have a higher death rate and lower life expectancy than Australian women. It’s a sobering statistic and one that International Men’s Health Week aims to address as it returns this year with a new theme – Health Snapshots.

It will be a week of awareness and focus on the issues and opportunities faced by Australian men and boys in attaining good health and wellbeing and will feature numerous events and discussions across the country.

According to the official website, Health Snapshots is about uncovering ‘male-friendliness’ in health and wellbeing services – for instance being open so that men can come in after work, or showing men that they are ready and prepared for them.

The week will deliver messages about how men, their families and health professionals can act to help promote an environment for better health. Such as seeking help sooner rather than later for a medical issue, about the women in men’s lives being more proactive in seeking out help for men through hotlines and professional support, and how GPs and other health services can market to men, tailor their services to better serve men’s needs.

In 2011, the death rate for males was 6.7 deaths per 1,000 males, compared to 4.7 deaths per 1,000 for females. (ABS data). Different attitudes, biology, behaviours, lifestyles and working patterns are all contributing factors.

Females are also less likely than men to be overweight or to smoke, which reduces the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In 2011-12, the ABS reported 70 per cent of males aged 18 years and over were overweight or obese as compared to 56 per cent of females; 29 per cent of men consumed alcoholic beverages in quantities that exceeded lifetime health risk, as compared to only 10 per cent of women and 20 per cent of males were reported as smokers as compared to 16 per cent of women.

The man behind the blue skivvy, Wiggle, Anthony Field has been actively involved in Men’s Health Week this year by speaking openly about his battle with medical issues including depression. Read full article.

Of all deaths classified as suicide in 2010, over three-quarters (77%) were males, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for males. (ABS data)

Just a few days ago non-profit organisation Beyond Blue, launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to treat the high rate of male suicide. The Man Therapy campaign encourages men to take charge of their mental health via a website that markets itself as a ‘toolkit’ to learn more, provide strategies and to guide men to professional treatment if required.

Our one and only male here at VIVA! Communications, Managing Director Paul Jans, has offered his top five health recommendations for men in their mid-forties:

  1. Prior to any exercise or physical labour…stretch your muscles, don’t just go for it like you did at the age of 30…warm up!
  2. Low Cholesterol diet…be mindful of fatty foods over business lunches such as pizza, or fried foods. Eat a balanced diet including – in my case- plenty of nuts, fruit and vegetables.
  3. Get some exercise in…even if it’s flying the kite with the kids, playing soccer at the park or a round of golf.
    Always keep moving.
  4. Annual GP check-up…check the prostate, cholesterol, and – in my case – as a person with hemochromatosis, get a liver check.
  5. Speak to your mates about anything…either mental or physical, that’s bugging you. Do it over a beer if that makes it easier to raise a personal subject.

The Australian government has also developed a quick health check quiz and information guide for men. See how you rate:

Take the quick quiz

Inforgraphic source

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.