[SA] Men encouraged to take stronger interest in their own health

By: Chris Smith

South Australian men will be encouraged to take a stronger interest in their own health through a new men’s health

South Australian men will be encouraged to take a stronger interest in their own health through a new men’s health plan and strategy.

Health Minister John Hill says a draft of the South Australian Men’s Health Strategic Framework (2007 – 2012) is available to the public for discussion until the end of the month.

The Framework will provide a common set of principles and a co-ordinated direction for services and research in men’s health.

Speaking at yesterday’s Man Alive! Festival in Semaphore, Minister Hill says one of the aims of the Framework is to tackle the problem of men ignoring concerns about their health.

"It is well known that many men typically wait too long to access health services," Hill says.

"Evidence also shows that the leading causes of death, illnesses, and injuries are largely preventable. It seems many men don’t like to talk about their health and figures prove that men still visit their GP far less than women. I want to urge men to think of their families, their children and their partners, and to think what impact their illness would have on their families.

"We know that among the top causes of loss of life years due to premature death and illness in men in South Australia for 2001-03 were ischemic heart disease, strokes and lung cancer.

"Obesity is also another major health issue for Australian men. The proportion of males aged 18 years and over in South Australia who are overweight has remained steady between 1991 and 2006 from 37.2 percent to 38.0 percent and the proportion of males who are obese has increased from 9.8percent to 21.3percent during this period. The simple fact is that Australian men need to take more time in looking after their health and I hope the new Framework will at least encourage them to give their health more thought."

Some of the main objectives of the Framework include:
  • Support for GP Plus Health Networks to provide continuity of care responsive to the diversity of men accessing general practice, community health and hospital services.
  • Focus on strategies that will support men to take greater responsibility for their own chronic disease prevention and management.
  • Support for policies and programmes addressing Aboriginal male health.

"We already know a lot about men's health, but there are also many areas in which we need to know more to develop effective strategies to improve health and wellbeing," Hill says.

The South Australian Men’s Health Strategic Framework (2008-2012) draft can be viewed at www.health.sa.gov.au.

Comments close on March 31.

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