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released: 15 Jun 2012 author: AIHW media release

This report is the second in a series on the health of Australia's males. It examines the distinct health profiles of five population groups, characterised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, remoteness, socioeconomic disadvantage, region of birth, and age. Findings include: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males generally experience poorer health than the overall population, with higher rates of chronic diseases such as lung cancer, diabetes and kidney disease; Socioeconomic disadvantage is frequently related to poorer health status among males, with rates of rates of obesity and tobacco smoking higher among males from more disadvantaged areas.

ISBN 978-1-74249-306-0; Cat. no. PHE 160; 87pp.; Internet Only

Summary

This report is the second in a series on the health of Australia’s males. It examines the distinct health profiles of five population groups, characterised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status, remoteness, socioeconomic disadvantage, region of birth, and age.

Key findings

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males generally experience poorer health than the overall population, highlighted by a life expectancy of 67 years (11.5 years less than that for non-Indigenous males). Factors that contribute to this poorer health status include:

  • high rates of tobacco smoking, risky alcohol consumption and illicit substance usage
  • higher rates of chronic diseases (such as lung cancer, diabetes and kidney disease) and health conditions (such as scabies, trachoma and acute rheumatic fever) that are uncommon in the general population
  • higher rates of hospitalisation, with 45% of these for dialysis.

Remoteness is associated with poorer health. Males living in remote areas generally have a shorter life expectancy and poorer self-assessed health status. As remoteness increases, the following health-related factors also increase:

  • rates of obesity, tobacco smoking and risky alcohol consumption
  • new cases of lung cancer, and deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and suicide
  • hospitalisations for Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Socioeconomic disadvantage is also associated with poorer health. Males living in more socially disadvantaged areas generally have a shorter life expectancy. As socioeconomic disadvantage increases, the following health-related factors also increase:

  • rates of obesity and tobacco smoking
  • new cases of lung cancer, and deaths from coronary heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and suicide
  • hospitalisations for Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Males born overseas generally enjoy better health than other males, with fewer risk factors and lower overall mortality and hospitalisations. There are areas where males born overseas experience poorer health, compared with males born in Australia, with:

  • lower rates of physical activity and bowel cancer screening
  • higher rates of lung cancer, and more deaths from diabetes and lung cancer
  • higher rates of hospitalisations for Type 2 diabetes mellitus and heart attack.

Older males (aged 65 and over) are living longer than ever before, and generally have fewer risk factors such as overweight/obesity and tobacco smoking than younger males. As age increases, the following health-related factors also increase:

  • inadequate vegetable intakes and inadequate physical activity
  • new cases of bowel cancer and melanoma, and rates of dementia and of injury from falls
  • all hospitalisations, including cardiac rehabilitation, cataract and melanoma of the skin.

Recommended citation

AIHW 2012. The health of Australia's males: a focus on five population groups. Cat. no. PHE 160. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 24 July 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737421980>.