“A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.” Spanish Proverb

What's wrong with men's health in Australia?

Australian men are more likely to get sick from serious health problems than women, often due to a lack of early intervention and their mortality (death) rate is also much higher.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Leading Causes of Death by Gender (2019) shows that the death rate from the main causes of death is generally higher for men than women. The ratio of male deaths compared to female deaths by cause of death is:

  • Heart disease: 126 males for every 100 females affected
  • Trachea and lung cancer: 155 males for every 100 females affected
  • Chronic lower respiratory disease: 113 males for every 100 females affected
  • Colon and rectum cancer: 123 males for every 100 females affected
  • Blood and lymph cancer including leukemia: 135 males for every 100 females affected
  • Diabetes: 113 males for every 100 females affected
  • Suicide: 312 males for every 100 females affected

But why is this the case? Lifestyle, eating and drinking habits, social factors, cultural beliefs about masculinity and manhood, unemployment and job insecurity, these all play a part and there’s no one reason behind the overall trend.So, what can employers be doing to help improve the situation?

Promote open communication

Most men are not open to talk about feelings and health issues. This may be down to the cultural belief that men need to be tough and to avoid being perceived as weak. But how can an employer change these perceptions? While you may not be able to do anything about deep rooted cultural beliefs, you can do something to creating a more open communication culture in work.

Get to know your workers better so you can potentially spot any early signs of ill health or stress, create an “open door” culture and encourage staff to come to you with any problems you may be able to assist them with. By creating this kind of culture workers will feel more comfortable approaching you about their issues.

Men’s health and fitness initiatives

The workplace isn’t the most active of environments and employees can be sat at their desk for much of the day, which isn’t great for physical or mental health. So what are you doing to encourage your staff to be more active?

Here are ten ways to encourage physical fitness in the workplace.

  1. Launch the health and wellness program you created.
  2. Give pedometers to your employees as welcome gifts to the program.
  3. Stock vending machines with healthy snacks.
  4. Provide refillable water bottles for employees to use at work.
  5. Hold walking meetings.
  6. Host family events that encourage exercise.
  7. Work with area gyms and fitness clubs to get your employees discounts on memberships.
  8. Have a chef come in and give a demonstration on how to cook healthy food affordably.
  9. Provide stress-relieving resources for employees to explore.
  10. Allow employees to preview a wide variety of exercises to see which benefit them the most.

Employers can play an important part in helping men make these changes, especially during Men’s Health Month. Not only do these positive changes help employees take control of their health and reduce the risk of serious health issues, but they also help employees become more productive for—and invested in—their employer.

The investment that you make in developing a health and wellness program in the workplace generates plenty of positive results that affect your business. If you are a Human Resources Manager and would like to chat about how you can arrange this for your workplace, please book in a time with me. 

Here's to better supporting one another – from the team at Anista Employee Benefits! 😃