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The Health Centre

Blokes, could your health do with a grease and oil change?
 

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 men.

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 boys.

"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 Week.

"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 health issues.

"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 event."

Mr Brown says we can only start reversing the problem of men's poor health if we do the groundwork out in the community.

"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 initiatives.

"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

 

 

 
 
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