Make a difference this Movember
Although many people joke about why women live longer than men, the numbers don’t lie. The average life expectancy at birth for men in the UK is around 79 years but for women, it is almost 83 years. More men than women also die prematurely, with statistics showing that, on average, men are dying six years earlier than the opposite sex and for largely preventable reasons. It is clear that men’s health is in crisis, which is why it is important to raise awareness and improve our understanding of the health risks that men face. There’s no better time to start doing this than Movember.
Poor health outcomes in men have been linked to several factors besides genetics. For instance, men tend to participate in more risk-taking behaviour – including smoking and drinking alcohol to excess – compared to women, and experience greater levels of occupational exposure to various hazards. Moreover, it is thought that traditional ideas of masculinity influence men’s attitudes towards health, making them less likely to visit a doctor when they are ill. Even if they do visit a doctor, the chances of reporting symptoms of disease or illness are lower among men than women. This is as true for physical ailments as for mental ones – around one in eight men have a common mental health problem, but many are reluctant to seek professional support or to disclose such an issue to loved ones.