Men’s Health Week 2013: Longer life begins at work

 Men's Health Week 

The biggest opportunity to improve the life expectancy and wellbeing of men in Australia is to create workplaces that support their physical and mental health, according to organisers of Men’s Health Week 2013, based at the University of Western Sydney.

Given that many Australian men spend more than a third of their day at work and endure an extended commute, the workplace offers the best setting for engaging men in activities that are good for their health, says Anthony Brown, from the UWS Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre.

“Spending a couple of minutes in your coffee break at work chatting with your mates about your health could make the difference,” says Mr Brown.

“Sitting down with a couple of blokes and a cup of tea is a very effective way to talk about life, body and mind.”

“We need to promote this attitude at the workplace, because this is where men spend so much of their time.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 95 per cent of workplace fatalities in 2011 were male. Men perform the most arduous and dangerous work that puts them in environments where their safety is routinely compromised.

80 per cent of mesothelioma diagnoses were male in 2008, which is a legacy of years of exposure to asbestos through mining, trades and shipbuilding. These and other factors account for the lower life expectancy of men, which remains stubbornly low at 78 years, compared to 83 years for women.

The good news is that things are changing for the better. More workplaces are integrating practices that enhance the wellbeing of their employees. There is increasing recognition that healthy workplaces result in fewer compensation claims, higher productivity, happier staff and reduced employee turnover.

“The opportunity here is to create workplaces that support men’s physical and mental health, which will deliver proven benefits for Australian men, their families and colleagues, as well as Australian employers,” says Mr Brown.

“It is an undeniable win-win, with male employees improving their health and employers benefiting from fitter and happier workers.”

Men’s Health Week is the perfect opportunity for men in Australia to sit down with their workmates and friends and have a chat about life. Hundreds of local events, from barbeques to special sporting matches, will be held from June 10 – 16.

Please visit www.menshealth.uws.edu.au for full details.

Ends

7 June 2013

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer

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