Men are disconnected from their health according to the director of a health program funded by the Queensland Government.
Lyn Hamill, director of the "My health for life program" told the Courier Mail, “there is a total disconnect about what men think is healthy compared to how they live their lives."
Ms Hamill was responding to a study of 1,200 men across Queensland that found that half of men (54%) are unhappy with their body shape and weight and one in four men frequently felt anxious or depressed.
Ms Hamill said: "While [men] believe their health is important, they don’t think their lifestyle choices puts them at risk of developing serious health issues.
"Maybe it is because they are overconfident about their health, in denial, or don’t know enough about health issues to weigh up their situation.
“However you look at it, more than half of Queensland men believe they don’t have to worry.’’
Ms Hamill said when men did participate in the program they generally did get “good results” but men did not generally join preventive programs.
“Half the men who participated in the program thought they knew what they were doing - they are comfortable with their knowledge yet 60 per cent of them were overweight or obese,” Ms Hamill said.
“The flabby body is a risk for chronic disease. When we talk about diabetes waist size is critical, being a man of a certain age is critical and having a family history is critical - you can’t change two of those things but you can change your waist size.”
She said the program was quite revealing about men’s attitudes towards their bodies.
The study found men in their 40s and 50s were “hesitant to remove their shirts” with men referring back to the “wash board stomach” as a reference for what they wanted to look like.
Ms Hamill said participants often said things like “they used to play football but now they don’t” or indicated they thought “heart attacks or strokes were random things when the facts are heart attacks or stroke events have usually been building for years”.
“Most men wait until they reach the tipping point, thinking that it (their health) is something you don’t need to be bothered about.
“Men often think they are too busy living, too busy with jobs and family to stop and it’s something they don’t have time for or prioritise until there is a diagnosis.”
She said the program aimed to help men change their outcomes.
“We give people a set of tools that allow them to take charge and make changes to their lives,” Ms Hamill said.
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