Men’s Health Week runs from June 13 to 19 and offers a unique opportunity for communities across Australia to put a renewed focus on male health issues and positive actions that men and boys can take to better their health.
Health issues specific to men
Australian men are more likely to get sick from serious health problems than women. This is due to a range of factors, including a tendency for men to be more reluctant to get simple health checks and to ask for help.
This imbalance can be seen in the male to female ratio of causes of death*:
- Heart disease: 119 to 100
- Lung cancer: 150 to 100
- Colon and rectum cancer: 124 to 100
- Diabetes: 108 to 100
- Suicide: 300 to 100
It’s about wellness, not just illness
Prevention is always better than a cure, so it is vital that men take steps to better their health. Making radical changes to lifestyle can be difficult, due to the business of life, but making incremental changes is achievable and can have genuine positive impacts.
So what are the key actions to take?
Be physically active
Simple activities that fit easily into your schedule, such as a brisk daily walk, mowing the lawn and biking are a great way to make a start. Try to work up to 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity for most days of the week.
Eat a healthy diet
Increase the proportion of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet, use fat-free or low-fat dairy and include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Lower your salt, sugar and alcohol intake too.
Stay at a healthy weight
The equation is simple; balance the calories you take in with the calories you burn. As you age, eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity. Small consistent changes will prevent gradual weight gain over time.
More details on Men’s Health Week can be found at www.menshealthweek.org.au
* The Australian Bureau of Statistics Leading Causes of Death by Gender (2012)