Blokes, could your health do with a grease and
It's a sad fact that most blokes
rotate the tyres on their car more often than they talk to
their GP about the spare tyre that has started to develop
around their middle.
The University of Western Sydney's Men's Health Information
and Resource Centre wants blokes to take their health as
seriously as they do their automobiles during International
Men's Health Week.
International Men's Health Week gives guys a much-needed
chance to have a physical and mental health tune-up, and
learn a bit more about the health challenges facing Aussie
The UWS Men's Health Information and Resource Centre (MHIRC)
coordinates Men's Health Week in New South Wales, and wants
as many men as possible to do something to mark the event -
whether it's as simple as going to the doctor for a
check-up, or bringing mates together to organise an activity
in their workplace or local community.
To help, the MHIRC has created a resource and information
kit - providing individuals and organisations with facts and
figures about men's health, details about men's health
services across the state, as well as simple ideas for
setting up their own Men's Health Week activities.
UWS men's health researcher, Mr Anthony Brown, says Aussie
blokes need to become more proactive when it comes to taking
care of their health.
"There's a growing crisis when comes to men's and boys'
health. The Australian male's life expectancy is 76 years,
compared to 81 years for a female. Men get the rough end of
the stick when it comes to dying from disease, with blokes
having significantly higher death rates for illnesses such
as cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems and
diabetes," says Mr Brown.
"Health services have also been slow off the mark in
recognising and responding to the specific needs of men and
"In Australia and other countries, men and boys experience
significantly higher rates of suicide, drug and gambling
addictions, violence, mental illness, crime, motor vehicle
accidents and premature death. It's complicated by the fact
that men are more likely to shy away from seeking medical
treatment of any kind, particularly if their problems are
emotional or psychological."
Mr Brown says there are plenty of things that individuals
and organisations can do to mark International Men's Health
"Last year some of the most exciting activities for the week
came from smaller rural towns. Simple things like health
talks for men and community BBQs encouraged a lot of local
men to join in and find out more about the issues that
affect their health and wellbeing," Mr Brown says.
"Activities can be really simple, such as writing a letter
to the editor of your local newspaper, or contacting your
local council or state member about the importance of men's
"Men might also think about getting their workplace to do
something during the week - like free health checks, or
holding employee workshops on topics such as stress
reduction, healthy diets, relationships or exercise.
"The resource and information kit is also a great tool for
groups like primary health care providers, health promotion
units, hospitals, local councils, schools, colleges,
voluntary groups, charities, employers and commercial
organisations, who might want to do something to mark the
Mr Brown says we can only start reversing the problem of
men's poor health if we do the groundwork out in the
"International Men's Health Week raises awareness of men's
health issues. It's also a chance to celebrate men's
diversity, and the important contributions that men and boys
make to their communities," he says.
"True change only comes from acting at a global, national
and local level. It's not just about getting governments to
implement policies and services that meet men's specific
health needs, but working with men at the coalface, giving
them the opportunity to develop their own health
"Hopefully by tackling some of the health battles head on,
there will come a time when men's and boys' health no longer
seem like a contradiction in terms."
Source: UWS Men's Health Information and Resource Centre