The state of men’s health in WA is lagging women’s health, according to the Men’s Health Card Report published on Friday during Men’s Health Week.
The WA 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 WA are dying 6.6 years younger than women on average.
AMHF, the national peak body for men’s health, is calling on the WA Government to build on this week’s launch of the WA Men’s Health Policy and ensure it invests time, money and resources into organisations working to improve 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 Western Australia 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 WA die 6.6 years younger (the average age of death in 2017 being 77.8 years for males and 84.4 years for females)
- 5 times more WA men aged 35-44 die from more heart disease than women the same age
- nearly 1 in 3 WA men (30.9%) die of cancer compared with over 1 in 4 women (27.5%)
- 3 in 4 WA suicides are men (304 of the 409 suicides in 2017)
- 95% of workplace fatalities in WA men (19 out of 20 deaths in 2017)
- 3 in 4 road fatalities are male, with 3 men and boys a week 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 WA are 40% more likely than girls to drop our of school before the end of Year 12 more than 1 in 3 new fathers in WA (37.8%) are not married
- 1 in 6 WA children (17.9%) live in lone parent families
- the number of men not in the labour force has risen by around 237% 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, WA was ranked in 5th place for men’s health behind the ACT (1st), Victoria (2nd) and New South Wales (3rd), South Australia and ahead of Queensland (6th), Tasmania (7th) and the Northern Territory (8th).
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, WA is just one of two States to 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 WA demonstrate that there is much work still to do. We commend the WA Government for launching its new Men’s Health Policy this week and hope to see this positive move supported with more investment into organisations working to improve the lives and health of men and boys in WA.”