2 October 2005
A call to Europe’s politicians to do a great deal more to improve the inadequate support for men’s health comes today in a new Declaration on Men’s Health.
The Declaration, which was approved this weekend at the European Men’s Health Forum’s inaugural conference in Vienna, says that men’s use of health services and health information is generally poor across Europe. The delivery of healthcare and information is often not appropriate for men and there is a lack of investment and research in men’s health.
The Declaration says there is an urgent need for policy makers to recognise men’s health as a distinct and important issue, to develop a better understanding of men’s attitudes to health, to invest in ‘male sensitive’ approaches to providing healthcare and to initiate work on health for boys and young men in school and community settings.
It adds that men’s life expectancy is unnecessarily low across Europe, with death rates from preventable causes at all ages being unacceptably high. Poor health and premature death in men also affects their families and are an unnecessary burden on health services and the wider economy.
Dr Ian Banks, President of the European Men’s Health Forum, said:
‘This Declaration – the first of its kind in the world – reflects the level of concern over European men’s health.
‘Policy makers and others need to recognise that men’s health is much more than just about diseases that affect only men. It is also about the consequences of male attitudes to health in general. The assumption that health is predominantly a female concern almost certainly results in inadequate support for men.
‘We need to see earlier diagnosis, which would improve health outcomes for men, and more routine health checks made more widely and easily available outside clinical settings.
‘The current unisex approach to health promotion and healthcare provision in Europe is failing men and women. As a result many of the 226 million men living in Europe are living with conditions that impact on their health, yet they don’t seek professional help. Millions of them remain undiagnosed and die prematurely. We can no longer afford to ignore the issue.’