Men who live further from cities more likely to have chronic health problems and higher death rates, says report

According to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, rural men are more prone to succumb to diseases like diabetes, some cancers like of head, neck and lip, poisonings and chronic health problems compared to those living in major cities.

The death rates in regional areas are eight per cent higher than city rates while in very remote areas, they are up to 80 per cent higher. Diabetes kills 1.3 times more among men in the inner regions and 3.7 times more in very remote areas, when compared with major cities.

This report hopes to aid the Federal Government develop Australia's first national rural men's health policy that aims at bringing healthcare closer to home for rural communities. Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural, Regional and Remote Health, Warren Snowdon will officially launch the document at a meeting with men's health organisation Andrology Australia in Melbourne on Wednesday morning. He said, “The image of the tough-as-nails, Aussie male is enshrined in folklore, (but) the reality is that men in regional and remote areas generally live fewer years and have higher rates of chronic disease compared with men in major cities…Improving men’s health outcomes are crucial given about one third, or about 3.1 million men, lived outside major cities in 2006." Director of Andrology Australia Professor Robert McLachlan also said that this new policy must aim to increase community support and services.

One of the lead authors of the report, Sally Bullock, more smoking and drinking among the rural folk may be the reason for this finding. She says, “Also, in Australia's more rural and remote areas, there's a larger amount of areas that are socioeconomically disadvantaged… By that, I mean you'll sometimes find lower education levels, lower income and higher rates of unemployment, for example.” The distance according to her is also a reason for more driving and more road accidents. Also the distance delays emergency management of cardiovascular diseases. "(And) with the distance, things like a cardio-vascular event, it takes people longer to get that help that can keep them alive," she said.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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