ACT placed first for men's health, lags behind women's health

The state of men’s health in the ACT is lagging behind women’s health according to a new report  published today in Canberra during Men’s Health Week (10 – 16 June 2019).

The ACT Men’s Health Report Card 2019 published by the Australian Men’s Health Forum (AMHF) highlights a number of areas of concern including the fact that men in the ACT are dying nearly seven years younger than women on average.

AMHF, the national peak body for men’s health, is calling on the ACT Government to invest more time, money and resources into improving the lives and health of men and boys.

Jonathan Bedloe, President of AMHF said:

“This report card on the state of men and boys’ health in the ACT tells us we must do better. Our sons are less educated than our daughters. Our brothers die younger than our sisters. Our fathers are more likely to die at work than our mothers. Our male friends are more likely to die by suicide than our female friends.

“The solution to these problems is not to stop working to improve the lives of women and girls, but to increase our efforts to tackle the issues facing men and boys. This means investing more time, money and resources into helping health services become more male-friendly and focused on the needs of men and boys.

“It also means looking at the wider social factors that shape men’s health, which include boys’ education, our experiences of fatherhood, our working lives, our financial wellbeing and our social connections.”

According to the report, which brings together the latest available data from a range of Government sources:

  • men in the ACT die 6.8 years younger (the average age of death in 2017 being 78.4 years for males and 85.2 years for females)
  • 5 times more ACT men aged 35-54 die from more heart disease than women the same age
  • 1 in 3 ACT men (32.2%) die of cancer compared with 1 in 4 women (25.6%)
  • 3 in 4 ACT suicides are men (44 of the 58 suicides in 2017)
  • 3 in 4 road fatalities are male, with 7 men and boys a year dying in road accidents.

The report also highlights some of the broader social issues that are known to impact men and boys’ health such as education, employment, finances and family life. According to the most recent Government data:

  • boys in the ACT are nearly twice as likely as girls to drop out of school before the end of Year 12
  • 1 in 4 new fathers in the ACT (26.2%) are not married  
  • 1 in 6 ACT children (13.2%) live in lone parent families
  • the number of men not in the labour force has risen by around 320% since 1978, more than 3 times the rate at which the number of women not in the labour force has risen.

When compared with other states and territories in Australia, the ACT was placed first for men’s health ahead of Victoria (2nd), News South Wales (3rd) and South Australia (4th).

According to AMHF, Australia is one of the few countries in the world that has developed a national men’s health strategy.

Glen Poole, CEO of AMHF said:

“The National Men’s Health Strategy calls on governments at all levels to address the unique needs of men and boys through their policies, programs and services. To date, just two States have developed a men’s health strategy and most Government initiatives to improve our physical and mental health aren’t specifically targeted at men and boys.

“The statistics uncovered in our report on the current state of male health in the ACT demonstrate that there is much work still to do. It’s time for the ACT Government to take better care of men and boys’ health by developing a statewide men’s health policy.”

 

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