The ‘Gender and Health through Life’ Conference was held 14th-15th June, 2012 at the Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet supported by the Danish EU Presidency and organised by the European Men’s Health Forum, European Patients’ Forum, the Danish Men’s Health Society and the European Cancer Patient Coalition.
The 2-day Conference was attended by over 200 delegates drawn from all over Europe and the USA.
The aim of the Conference was to bring together as many groups as possible, including: academics & researchers, providers of health training, employers, MEPs and MPs, organisations representing and supporting ethnic minorities, young people, older people, men and women’s organisations, public health practitioners / organisations, pharmaceutical organisations and patient focused NG0s, charities and other networks to debate and recommend better ways of approaching and delivering public health programmes.
As a result of these collective ‘brains’ the EMHF intends to publish further recommendations for health policy makers across Europe. These recommendations will update our current recommendations that we published in the Report: Response to the EC Report on the State of Men’s Health in Europe (2011).
In terms of the differences between men and women the original EU report The State of Men’s Health in Europe found that:
- Life expectancy for the EU27 stands at 76.07 for men and 82.21 for women, ranging from 80yrs in Iceland and Lichtenstein to 66.3yrs in Lithuania (a gap of 13.7 years).
- A clear gap also exists between the Eastern European Countries compared to Western Europe.
- In 2007, there were over 630,000 male deaths between the ages of 15 and 64 years of age compared to 300,000 female deaths. And across EU27, deaths in this 15-64 age group account for 26% of total male deaths compared to 13% of female deaths.
- In all Member States, men who live in poorer material and social conditions are likely to eat less healthily, take less exercise, be overweight/obese, consume more alcohol, be more likely to smoke, engage in substance misuse, and to engage in more risky sexual behaviours.
All of these have significant impacts on length and quality of life.
The information and recommendations collected from the Copenhagen Conference will also help the European Commission, National Governments and local strategy developers to take a more informed look at how their current policies meet the needs of men and to think seriously as to how they tackle men’s health in the future.
Participants highlighted that a more focused approach to the physical and mental health needs of younger men must be balanced with one that also faces health challenges of the ageing male population. The diversity of factors that contribute to men’s poor health requires measures that not only recognise gender equality issues, but also highlight the more fundamental concern with equity.
Further recommendations will be published by the EMHF later in the year followed by an European Summit in Dublin during International Men’s Week, June 2013.