Make a change for Men’s Health Week

John Macdonald

Professor John Macdonald

Blokes of all ages and walks of life are being urged to take a moment for their own health and wellbeing during Men's Health Week (15 to 21 June).

Making small changes in your life can have a significant difference to long-term health outcomes, says University of Western Sydney Foundation Chair in Primary Health Care, John Macdonald.

"For many men it can be difficult to find time to exercise, eat healthy meals regularly and spend quality time with their family and friends. However, by making very small adjustments to a daily routine, blokes can find ways to integrate healthy activities into their everyday lives," says Professor Macdonald, who is Director of the UWS Men's Health Information and Resource Centre in the UWS School of Science and Health.

"Small changes like parking the car further from work or the train station or taking the stairs and not the lift can help increase your physical activity. Men also need to take care of their emotional wellbeing, so switching off the tv and smart phone for an hour will free up time to spend with family and friends.

"Adopting a positive approach that makes the most of small moments of opportunity will help to improve your overall health and wellbeing."

Professor Macdonald says much can also be done to make health services more male friendly.

The life expectancy for Australian males (79.7) is five years less than women (84.2) and the gap has actually widened since 1900 when it was 3.6 years.

"Men access health services differently to women and for different reasons. However health services are often tailored for women and children and this can create barriers for men," he says.

"It's not that male health is more or less important, but there needs to be recognition that services designed for one gender may not be as effective for the other.

"Men's Health Week should trigger health professionals and policy makers to consider how they can deliver more effective health services for all males," says Professor Macdonald.

Leading causes of death in Australia

  • Trachea and Lung cancer: 150 males for every 100 females1
  • Blood and Lymph cancer: 139 males for every 100 females1
  • Colon and rectum cancer: 124 males for every 100 females1
  • Heart disease: 119 males for every 100 females1
  • Chronic lower respiratory disease: 114 males for every 100 females1
  • Diabetes: 108 males for every 100 females1
  • Suicide: 300 males for every 100 females1 and 80 per cent of suicides in in Australia during 2012 were males2

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics Leading Causes of Death by Gender (2012) 

2 Unemployment and Suicide in Australian Males: A Close Connection (2015)


15 June 2015

Media contact: Paul Grocott, Senior Media Officer

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