One in four Irish men die when they should be enjoying the optimum level of success and personal fulfillment in their lives, according to a leading British expert in men’s health.
Prof Alan White of Leeds Matropolitan University Centre for Men’s Health said that almost 27 per cent of men die prematurely between the ages of 15 and 64 years compared to 16.5 per cent of women in this category.
Prof White was speaking at the 14th annual health promotion conference hosted by NUIG’s Health Promotion Research Centre.
Prof White said there was very little awareness of men’s health when he first started investigating the issue in the mid 1990s. One of the major obstacles, he said, was the suppression of emotions by men with regard to their own health and wellbeing.
Ireland has made significant strides in dealing with this issue by the publication last year of a national men’s health policy, but, he said, there was much more that could be done.
Prof White said since there was such a low number of dedicated research centres around the world, men’s health should be developed primarily as a distinct discipline or field of work.
“We’ve had women’s health for years and no one has baulked at that,” he said.
Prof White said it was vitally important to ensure men’s survival rates during their working years were better, given the detrimental effect the loss of a father, partner, or employee had on society.
Dr Noel Richardson, who is the principal author of Ireland’s first national policy on men’s health and the chairman of the Men’s Health Forum, said he did not believe there was a crisis in men’s health in Ireland, but he did think there was problems in “certain sub groups”.
Prof White concluded by saying that it was vitally important to ensure men’s survival rates during their working years were better, given the detrimental effect the loss of a father, partner or employee has on society as a whole.