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Men’s health in focus

Indigenous men and those living in rural areas have poorer health outcomes, AIHW analysis shows certain groups of Australian men are at higher risk of poor health than others, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The health of Australia's males: a focus on five population groups, examined the health of men in different population groups, characterised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, remoteness, socioeconomic disadvantage, region of birth and age.

The report found these factors can affect health for better or worse. For example, the life expectancy among indigenous men is 67 years - 11.5 years less than their non-indigenous counterparts.

Factors that contribute to this poorer health status include higher rates of chronic diseases, such as lung cancer, diabetes and kidney disease, and health conditions that are uncommon in the general population, such as scabies, trachoma and acute rheumatic fever.

Males in remote areas also generally have shorter life expectancy and poorer self-assessed health status. As remoteness increases, so do several health-related factors, including rates of obesity, tobacco smoking and risky alcohol consumption. Males in remote areas also have more new cases of lung cancer, hospitalisations for Type 2 diabetes, and deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and suicide.

Rates of obesity and tobacco smoking among men also increase with socio-economic disadvantage, as do new cases of lung cancer, hospitalisations for Type 2 diabetes and deaths from coronary heart disease, lung cancer, coronary obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and suicide.

In contrast, the report shows that some population groups enjoy better health in some areas.

Males born overseas have fewer risk factors and lower overall mortality and hospitalisations compared with males born in Australia, and older males are living longer than ever before, and have fewer risk factors such as overweight/obesity and tobacco smoking than younger males.

The full report is available at: www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737421980

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