AMA urges men to get up, stand up, and get moving to improve their health
Men’s Health Week, 15-21 June 2015
AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, today urged Australian men to get serious about looking after their own health.
Dr Parnis said that Men’s Health Week is an ideal time for men of all ages to make simple but important lifestyle decisions to extend their lives and improve their quality of life.
“Two-thirds of men over the age of 18 are either overweight or obese, and this is contributing to very poor physical and mental health outcomes,” Dr Parnis said.
“Getting healthier does not have to involve immediate significant lifestyle changes.
“Setting small, achievable daily goals, supported by family and local communities, is the starting point.
“Start by reducing the amount of time sitting down each day, be it sitting at work at the desk or computer or sitting at home watching television, playing video games, or reading for long periods.
“Sedentary lifestyles can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, some cancers, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, anxiety, and obesity.
“Many adults spend more than half of their waking hours sitting - small incremental changes can have a positive effect on overall health and wellbeing.
“The next thing to do is to fit in some physical activity on most days, if not every day.
“The current recommendations for adults are to accumulate between two-and-a-half hours and five hours of moderate physical activity per week, which can be broken down to 30 to 60 minutes activity a day on five days of the week.
“For men who are currently inactive or moderately active, incremental change is best. Start slowly, then build up the time and level of activity.
“The AMA also recommends that men build a trusting relationship with their GP to monitor vital health signals such as blood pressure, weight, diet, cholesterol levels, and general wellbeing.
“Many men do not like visiting the doctor, or do not feel they need to visit the doctor. Some men feel they are invulnerable.
“But building a strong relationship with a local family doctor, and being able to talk openly about health issues, especially sensitive health issues, including mental health, is key to staying healthy.
“It is time for all Australian men to get up and stand up for their own health,” Dr Parnis said.
According to the Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre, University of Western Sydney:
- males in industrialised societies, such as Australia, are less inclined than women to take an active role in maintaining their own health, and receive far fewer messages than women do concerning the importance of their health and wellbeing;
- men are also less likely to seek professional help for problems, particularly those of an emotional nature;
- men may feel that it is a sign of weakness to seek help;
- some males, particularly younger men, tend to act as if they are invulnerable, which can lead to destructive behaviours such as drug or alcohol binges, reckless driving, or other risky behaviours; and
- Australian men are more likely to get sick from serious health problems than women, often due to a lack of early intervention, and their mortality (death) rate is also much higher.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics Leading Causes of Death by Gender (2013) shows that the death rate from the main causes of death is generally higher for men than women:
- the ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths from heart disease is119 males for every 100 females affected;
- the ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths from trachea and lung cancer is 155 males for every 100 females affected;
- the ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease is 113 males for every 100 females affected;
- the ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths from colon and rectum cancer is 123 males for every 100 females affected;
- the ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths from blood and lymph cancer, including leukaemia, is 135 males for every 100 females affected;
- the ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths from diabetes is 113 males for every 100 females affected; and
- the ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths from suicide is 297 males for every 100 females affected.
16 June 2015
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