At the beginning of Men's Health Week, Australian Medical Association President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, today called on the Government to honour its promise to develop a national men's health policy.
"The men of Australia are at a distinct disadvantage to women when it comes to health, no matter what their background," Dr Capolingua said.
Advertisement"They just do not go and see a doctor often enough or early enough in their lives.
"After Indigenous Australians, men are the group which suffers the greatest health disparity.
"The health of Indigenous men and those who live in regional and rural areas is of particular concern."
A national men's health policy should focus on reducing the barriers men experience in accessing medical services, tackling the general reluctance of men to see a GP for a checkup, and addressing the preventable health problems that affect men.
Men needed to feel that they could have a regular GP who helped them stay well, Dr Capolingua said.
"Men suffer a disproportionate burden of ill health from injury, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer," she said.
"Men are also more likely than women to smoke, have high cholesterol, use illicit drugs, drink alcohol to excess, and not eat enough fruit and vegetables. This group is at high risk.
"Family history is also important and, even for those with a healthy lifestyle, your GP can help safeguard you against getting sick.
"The Government needs to do more than simply raise awareness - it must provide a blueprint for changes that will ensure men live healthier lives and have better access to medical services."
Improved men's health will not come at the expense of women's health, Dr Capolingua said.
"We've had an effective national women's health policy for nearly 20 years.
"An equivalent policy for men is well overdue."
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