Men, we must change our habits and the way we look at our own health.
In 2016 Cause of Death report showed the top 8 health issues that killed men were;
(From the ABS 2017 Social Trends data)
These issues can be reduced, mitigated, and prevented through lifestyle changes including, exercise, diet and lifestyle changes.
I want to point out that this is the list of deaths from these issues, yet those suffering from conditions on a day to day basis looks very different. A study by University of Sydney scholars reports that in 2016, 40 percent of Australians had at least one chronic health problem and a quarter had two or more chronic conditions.
Statistics currently (ABS/VIC Health) show that men lead women in the number of deaths per risk category, which means that men in Australia carry a high likelihood of developing chronic disease resulting in death.
Overall Australians (men & women) are still struggling with their weight. Roughly 63 percent are overweight or obese, with one in four children being overweight or obese.
Junk foods high in salt, fat and sugar account for about 35 percent of adults’ energy intake and about 39 percent of the energy intake for children and young people.
Most Australians (93 percent) do not consume the recommended five serves of vegetables a day and only half eat the recommended two serves of fruit. Just 3 percent of children eat enough vegetables, though 70 percent consume the recommended amount of fruit.
Almost half (45 percent) of adults aged 18 to 64 and 23 percent of children are not meeting the national physical activity recommendations.
Lifestyle choices have a huge impact on the risk of chronic disease; an estimated 31 percent of the burden of disease in Australia could have been prevented by reducing risk factors such as smoking, excess weight, risky drinking, physical inactivity and high blood pressure.
Where and how you live plays a huge role in your health. Recent statistics in Australia show that for those living outside major cities, the health risks from low physical activity are extremely high, with drinking, smoking and arthritic / inflammation issues, diabetes, cardiovascular health risk being higher than for those in metropolitan areas.
Why are men doing so poorly? There are a number of social and lifestyle factors for Australian men which contribute to us being at risk.
The types of work roles and length of hours worked see men engaging less in health-promoting activity.
Men are traditionally encouraged to do the high-risk jobs that are stressful, dangerous and deadly such as mining, logging, trades and construction. This is a historical gender bias in the employment sector.
Historically, men were encouraged by our Western culture to be tough and independent, with that “she’ll be right mate” attitude and visiting doctors or complaining about feeling ill are not what “blokes” do. Men, particularly older men, typically prefer to see a male doctor for intimate or embarrassing issues. However, figures show, the family doctor is trending toward more female GP’s.
There is some hope with more men speaking out about changing this stigma.
One out of every five Australian men suffers from depression and/ or anxiety at any given time. Statistics show that;
Teenagers and the elderly are particularly at risk.
Male depression is associated with an increased risk of health disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Men are likely to resort to destructive behaviours in an attempt to deal with depression.
Depressed or men are twice as likely as depressed women to abuse alcohol and drugs. Rather than seeking help which make the symptoms worse.
Depression is a known high-risk factor for suicide. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, men of all ages suicide at a higher rate than women.
People with an anxiety disorder find that their anxiety gets in the way of their daily life and stops them from achieving their full potential. This pattern prevents people from being socially and physically active, seeking help and talking about their problems. This contributes to other known high-risk diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Australian men are more likely to get sick from serious health problems than Australian women.
Men die in greater numbers than women from almost every non-sex-specific health problem.
Compared to women, men visit the doctor less frequently, have shorter visits, and only attend when their illness is in its later stages and more serious (making it harder to treat).
Lifestyle changes such as exercise, better nutrition, more sleep, less stress and more support networks (family, friends, community) are the most effective health-promoting actions you can take. Even better, you can start doing any of these things today.
I will be releasing regular blog posts covering each of these issues in more depth between now and the end of the year, so keep an eye out!
Our Coaches are always happy to chat and provide you with guidance if you feel stuck.
Author: Vaughan Carder