TASMANIAN men are among the unhealthiest in the nation, which Launceston physiotherapist Lisa Banfield says is unacceptable.
Despite the life expectancy for Tasmanian men increasing in the past 25 years, it remains lower than the rest of Australia, except the Northern Territory at 78.3 years (health report 2013).
In 2007-08, 65.6 per cent of Tasmanian male adults were overweight or obese and Mrs Banfield, of Physiofit, said Men’s Health Week (June 15-21) was an opportunity to encourage Tasmanian men to get healthy.
“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them,” she said.
“Men’s health probably isn’t discussed as openly and regularly as women’s health is, but when we look at the stats men actually die about five years earlier than women do.
“We need to be looking at ways of making changes of talking more, sharing more about men’s health issues and getting more men on board to wanting to make positive change to their lifestyles.
“From a lifestyle point of view they are more likely to smoke, be out there doing risky activities and not necessarily focused on their health until a problem presents itself – they ignore it until that point.
“There are lots of issues to do with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and then incontinence issues related to having your prostate out probably more so, but there are other causes for incontinence like being overweight and lifting weights that are far too heavy.
“By losing five to 10 per cent of body weight reduces the incidence of . . . incontinence by more than 70 per cent.”
Mrs Banfield said there are 22,000 new prostate cancer cases a year, 94 Australian suffer a heart attack daily and 58 per cent do not exercise enough.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the health and health risk behaviours of Tasmanian men are worse than those living in other Australian states.
He said ischaemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in Tasmanian men aged 25 years and older.
“However, Tasmania has experienced a steady reduction in potentially avoidable mortality for men from 1978 to 2007. This is a positive sign,” Mr Ferguson said.
“This decline may reflect improvements in the healthcare system and changes in environmental and socio-economic conditions, as well as effective preventive measures like reduced smoking rates and good management of risk factors.
“One of the easiest and best things a man can do for his health is to get an annual check-up from his GP.”
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