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EU's first men's health report reveals 'black hole' of male deaths

The much-anticipated Men's Health Report has been published by the European Commission.

Written by a team led by MHF chair Professor Alan White, the State of Men's Health in Europe highlights men's health in Europe as a serious public health concern using data from the 27 nations plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichenstein, Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The EU press release says: 'Patterns emerging from data show marked differences in health outcomes amongst men both between and within countries. Poor lifestyles and preventable risk factors account for a high share of premature death and illness in men, illustrating that their health disadvantage is not necessarily written in the genes but can be remedied in part by targeted policies and actions.'

This report was commissioned by the European Commission and funded through its Public Health Programme to inform policy makers, health professionals, academics and the wider population of the health challenges men face.

The press release identifies the following key findings:

  • Although men are living longer that ever before, the current decline in births means that there will be a huge reduction of men of working age across the EU-27 in the coming decades.
  • Over 50% of premature deaths amongst men are avoidable.
  • Men are less likely than women to engage in routine or preventative health checks.
  • Even though there have been big reductions in cardiovascular morbidity and death amongst men, Cardio-Vascular disease is still one of the biggest risks to health and the principle cause of death in the older population.
  • Among men, prostate cancer has become the most diagnosed cancer in Europe.
  • Testicular cancer, despite effective treatment, still remains the first cause of cancer death among young males (20-35 years).
  • Men's depression and other mental health problems are under detected and under treated in all European countries. This is partly due to men being less likely to seek help.

'EU must target men of working age'

The European Men's Health Forum (EMHF) have already responded to the report as a whole identifying the deaths of men of working age as 'a black hole'.

The Report shows that every year twice as many men of working age (16-64) die as women with some 630,000 male and 300,000 female deaths across the EU27 countries in this age group. The EMHF are calling for this group of men to be explicitly targeted.

Dr Ian Banks who is president of both the EMHF and the MHF says: ‘We’ve seen great improvements in life expectancy because older people – if they make it to retirement age – are living longer. The great black hole is men of working age where we’ve seen very little improvement in the death rates in recent years. These men have been neglected for too long. We need a wide-ranging and fundamental change in policy. This is the group we need to be targeting.’

The EMHF will shortly be responding to the report in more detail with a series of recommendations to policy-makers.

Page created on September 19th, 2011

Page updated on September 20th, 2011