...or another path to better health.
Did you know that in westernised countries there are 105 boys born for every 100 girls? That's right, 51.2% of all births are blokes. This figure rises to 107/100 globally although sadly it's believed this is caused by gender selective termination of pregnancy.
"Many demographers have speculated that the gender imbalance at birth may be evolution's way of evening things out overall. Male infants more often suffer from health complications than female infants. The disadvantage runs to adulthood, too, as adult men kill each other more often, take more risks and have more health problems, on average, than women, all of which cause them to die younger." Taken from livescience.com.
Even though more guys are born, they get less time on earth than us women. Life expectancy in Scotland for men is currently 77 years, for women it's 81. However, "The gap between male and female life expectancy at birth in the UK has been gradually narrowing over the past 33 years, from 6.0 years in 1980–1982 to 3.7 years in 2013–2015, with males showing faster improvements in mortality compared to females. The reduction in the proportion of men smoking, along with the decline of heavy industry and the move away from physical labour and manufacturing industries towards the service sector are likely factors." Read more about national life statistics here.
In short, more blokes are born, historically they've died quicker and younger but this gap is now closing and there may be more we can do to help. Well, I'm quite fond of my husband, he's already 6 years older than me and he's wont to to reasonably blokey things (last week he almost fell out of an upstairs window because the chair he was balancing on collapsed. It's a tale as old as time...)
So here are 5 ways we can keep our men alive for longer - use this information as you wish!
1. Get to know your NHS screening options. Use this link to find out what NHS Scotland will routinely screen you for and make sure you and your loved ones attend your appointments.
2. "Men... suffered a proportionately higher disease burden from ... suicide and self-harm related injuries..." Taken from NHS Scotland sources. A paramedic friend once told me that male suicide attempts tended to result more often in death than females. She described the men as being "task completers". We're all aware of the pressures on the NHS Mental Health services and while I'm not suggesting we style ourselves as counsellors we can all give time and space to our loved ones, or help them seek the level of care they need.
3. Complete your regular health checks in tandem. Opticians and dental appointments can be made together and if you're remembering your monthly breast check, tell your significant other so they can complete theirs, too. For basic info about what men should be checking at home, click here. For more in depth home health awareness, click here. I've just read on three different websites that a bloke will check his car more regularly than himself. Is this true?!
4. Get involved with men's health charities like Movember. For years now, men have been growing some great moustaches to raise awareness of men's health. Every November you'll see a variety of fuzzy top lips as blokes raise money and open up about this disparity of life expectancy. Anyone who wants to grow an Errol Flynn moustache - send me photos! More recently, Movember have added a MOVE opportunity to their website with lots of info about how you can raise sponsorship through exercise all through November. A great chance to improve everyone's health.
5. To write this article I looked at a bunch of well meaning pieces about how women can help make their men healthier and a bigger load of nagging, sanctimonious, mothering, pandering and babyfying nonsense I have never read before. Suggestions such as "make exercise fun" and "keep a health diary for him" can only demean and coddle our blokes into believing that they have no responsibility for their health and simultaneously burden us with another chore. Rather, Guys and Gals, take responsibility for your health, speak up, check up and care for each other. Looking after your own health will raise the standard of health care in your home.
M-enjoy Good Health!