Opinion: New Zealand men get sick or injured more and die sooner than women – targeted health policy is long overdue

In addition, men are more likely to live with illness or injury and, as a result, die prematurely.

These health inequalities were highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemicand men get COVID at higher rates, experience more severe symptoms, and are more likely to die.

In New Zealand, there is also a marked disparity between male and female deaths by suicide. In 2018, 446 men died by suicide, compared to 177 women.

For men, this grim statistic isn’t just related to youth: Older men are also in high risk. And men with disabilities report higher rates of suicidal ideation than men without disabilities.

Research on gender diversity is in its infancy, but recent research shows that trans men are more likely to report psychological distress than trans women.

However, biological sex differences alone cannot explain men’s higher risk of premature death and poorer overall health. These results are irrefutably linked to cultural and socioeconomic factors.

What stops men from going to the doctor?

Many men are reluctant to seek care and support from the health system, possibly because it is not structured around their needs.

Primary care services are generally only open when men are at work, and the feminine atmosphere of many waiting areas reinforces the perspective that health is women’s work.

Generally, men only think about their health if a problem prevents them from undertaking an important practical aspect of their lives, be it sports, playing with their children or doing their job.

Consequently, they are unlikely to seek help unless their ability to function is impaired.

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Ultimately, this means that men are Looking for assistance for health problems much later, resulting in higher levels of potentially preventable health problems, reduced treatment options, and increased use of more expensive hospital services.

Unfortunately, men are also at higher risk of fatal injuries from their occupation. Between 2005 and 2014, 955 workers were fatally injured, of which 89 percent were men.

Unfortunately, men’s lifestyle choices, including smoking, poor diet, unsafe alcohol use, and other substance abuse, often have negative consequences on their health and well-being. While these lifestyle behaviors may be linked to perceptions of what it means to be a man, these choices are generally modifiable.

An effective men’s health policy would explicitly recognize that health promotion programs must be designed specifically for men.

Where politics can help

Globally, there are a number of gender-specific health promotion programs that have proven useful in relation to men’s health.

the rugby fans in formation healthy lifestyle program, resulted in changes in men’s diet and physical activity levels, leading to weight loss.

The man centered farmers have hearts cardiovascular health program in Ireland resulted in better outcomes for farmers, with more than 80 per cent successfully making some type of lifestyle behavior change.

Research on the “Men’s Shed” The movement has demonstrated its ability to foster a sense of community, nurture a sense of belonging, and reduce the negative impacts of loneliness on health.

While some successful initiatives and programs targeting men are now established in New Zealand, a cohesive approach is lacking despite growing national and international evidence that gender-specific initiatives are effective.

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Focusing on men’s health need not come at the expense of women’s health initiatives and it is commendable that the government has committed to a women’s health strategy as part of the Pae Ora (Futures of Women) Bill. health).

However, men’s health should not be forgotten.

The government must also implement a men’s health policy that facilitates a cohesive and equitable approach that enables men to improve their lives, not only for their benefit but also for the benefit of their families, communities and society as a whole.

Fiona Doolan-Noble is co-director of the Center for Men’s Health and Senior Research Fellow in Rural Health at the University of Otago; Ally Calder is a professor at the University of Otago; Elaine Hargreaves is Associate Professor of Exercise Psychology, University of Otago; and Hui Xiao works at the University of Otago.

This article is republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

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