Call for dedicated men's health strategy in New Zealand

  • 06/10/2017
Call for dedicated men's health strategy in New Zealand
Photo credit: Getty

A men's health strategy is needed in New Zealand, particularly as men have a lower life expectancy and health status than women, a group of researchers say.

Writing in the NZ Medical Journal, they say leading causes of death like heart disease, cancer and suicide have to be addressed.

"Men's health is a conundrum," they wrote.

"In New Zealand, men have a lower life expectancy and health status than women, yet New Zealand is described as taking an `ad-hoc' approach to men's health with no strategy or policies to address these health inequalities."

The researchers - from Otago and Auckland universities, and the Southern and Waitemata DHBs - said men had different health needs and a gender-oriented response had been growing in prominence around the world.

However, New Zealand, unlike Australia, had no men's health strategy.

"The need for gendered healthcare is indisputable," the researchers said.

"A 2002 Ministry of Health paper reported that in addition to biological differences, much of gender health inequality is a product of social and cultural expectations."

Among points in the article:

  • The overall number of deaths of NZ men aged 50 to 75 is 30 percent higher than for women
  • Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death for men
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for male teenagers and young adults
  • In 2013-14, men submitted over 870,000 ACC claims
  • For every $1 of Health Research Council funding spent exclusively on women's health research since 2010, men's health research received $0.06.

NZN