Whether there ever can or will be complete equality between the sexes remains still, a matter of philosophical wrangling. The state of men’s health and wellbeing trails far behind that of their gender counterparts. For example, in 2010 42% of men in England were classified as overweight compared with 32% of women. The list goes on: obese men are five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and three times more likely to develop cancer of the colon; in Great Britain, 31% of men drink more than the advised weekly limit (21 units) of alcohol compared to 20% of women; men are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease (including coronary heart disease) and at an earlier age – being overweight and drinking too much are, of course, major contributory factors to heart disease.
In the interests of equality it’s only fair to note that both sexes have plenty of room for statistical improvement. Alongside regular medical check-ups and routine screening, making healthy lifestyle choices can influence our health and wellbeing positively, dramatically and for the long term.
Revisions & divisions
Why the male/female divide? Fear, denial, pressure on time – none of these is a male preserve. Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that even when they feel ill, men are less likely to consult a doctor– thus limiting their chances of early diagnosis and treatment.
Weight gain, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancers – our level of risk for all these and more can be raised, lowered and in some cases negated depending on our lifestyle choices.
Regardless of gender, top risk-busters include: regular moderate physical activity, a healthily balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight; a regular sleep pattern; managing stress; low or moderate alcohol consumption and no tobacco.
Written by Ruth Tongue