The latest statistics show the median age of death for Australian women is 84.6 years while for Australian men it's just 78.9 years.
© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
Australian women continue to outlive Australian men with the latest available statistics showing the median age of death for women at 84.6 years and 78.9 for men.
Of the 161,300 deaths recorded in 2020, 52% were male and 47% female. The leading cause of death was ischaemic heart disease (16,587 deaths in 2020), with sizeably more men (60%) dying from heart disease than women (40%).
The Australian Bureau of Statistics “potentially avoidable deaths” category reveals that nearly twice as many men (17,231 in 2020) as women (9,764 in 2020) died of potentially avoidable causes. Disturbingly, this rate has remained constant for the past decade.
So what are these potentially avoidable causes?
They include ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer, bowel cancer, diabetes, suicide, and accidental falls to name the major causes.
How can we change this statistic?
It can be changed by encouraging men and boys to value their physical and emotional health and wellbeing – and stop that culturally-conditioned “it’s all good mate” behaviour - to lead strong and happier lives.
Since its foundation in 1999, The Centre for Male Health at Western Sydney University has been striving to encourage this change. It has created a resource centre on health education for men and initiated various awareness-raising activities, a central one being the coordination of Men’s Health Week.
Men’s Health Week 2022 takes place from 13 to 17 June and carries the theme of “Building Healthy Environments for Men and Boys”. This is about creating home, workplace and social environments were men and boys feel comfortable about discussing their physical, emotional and mental health.
It comes as no surprise that the Centre calls on women to be proactive in helping men and boys get the help they need. They encourage women to provide support by using available health hotlines, speaking with professionals to get the best course of action, and being persistent.
Health services and GPs are asked to consider how they market to men – are they running male-friendly medical practices and are their services tailored to include men's needs? They are asked to open up conversation by sharing with men, women and children the kinds of problems and symptoms they are seeing in other patients and that they should be mindful of.
The awareness raising week encourages Australian host their “own awareness-raising “ community event this June and post it on the Centre’s website.
Getting men involved in a community event on their health can be hard work. The Centre acknowledges this and provides some pointers:
(1) Keep it simple and fun. Do something that blokes would be interested in.
(2) Find blokes to invite through sporting clubs, work teams, networking groups, wives and partners.
(3) Provide discrete but easy to access health information. Put it into a showbag rather than leave it open to pick and choose from - that way, blokes might take it home and have a quiet read.
It would be good to see collaboration amongst all the health charities to get behind Men’s Health Week. In particular, all those health charities dedicated to raising awareness of those potentially avoidable deaths such as The Heart Foundation, the Cancer Council, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, Bowel Cancer Australia, Diabetes Australia, Suicide Prevention Australia, Lifeline and Beyond Blue.
The potentially avoidable death statistics are way too high for our men!
Seeking care or support for a loved one? Please feel free to call me, Danielle Robertson, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance at the right time and in the right place.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics: Causes of Death, Australia
 Deaths that are either preventable or treatable from a current healthcare and public health care perspective.
 2022 International Men's Health Week: Building Healthy Environments for Men and Boys