Accidents and lifestyle main health risks for males

Behaviour- and lifestyle-related health risk factors are among the most prominent for Australian males, according to two reports released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, The health of Australia's males: from birth to young adulthood (0-24 years), shows that among males aged 0-24, there were 52 deaths per 100,000 males, nearly twice the rate for females of the same age.

The major cause of death for males aged 1-24 was land transport accidents. Within this age range, males were nearly 3 times as likely to die from land transport accidents as females.

'Males aged 0-24 were also more likely to be hospitalised for injury, and more likely to die from injury, than females of the same age,' said AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey.

Of males aged 14-19, 43% were at risk of injury resulting from excessive alcohol consumption on at least one occasion in the previous year.

About 6% of males aged 14-19 smoke tobacco daily, but they are slightly less likely than females of the same age to smoke (8% for females).

Mr Harvey said chlamydia was the most common notifiable infectious disease among young males in 2011. Of chlamydia notifications among all males, 53% were for young males aged 15-24. This equates to more than 700 notifications per 100,000 males aged 15-19 and nearly 1,500 per 100,000 males aged 20-24.

A second report released today, The health of Australia's males: 25 years and over, shows that in 2011-12, 44% of males aged 25 and over were overweight, a further 31% were obese and 66% had a waist circumference that put them at increased risk of chronic disease.

'The proportion of males aged 25 and over who were overweight or obese increased from 69% to 75% between 1995 and 2011-12, and was highest among males aged 45-54,' Mr Harvey said.

The report also shows that 1 in 10 men aged 50-59 (11%) and 60-69 (10%) are at risk of injury resulting from excessive alcohol consumption on a daily basis.

Mr Harvey said both marital and employment status are associated with the health of males aged 25 and over.

'It's not possible to tell from this information whether a person's marital or employment status contributed to a health condition, or whether the presence of a health condition was a contributing factor in their marital or employment status.'

'However, the report shows that married males have lower mortality rates compared with males who never married (8.1 compared with 12.8 deaths per 1,000). And, males who are employed are less likely to rate their health as fair or poor (11%) than unemployed males (37%) or males not in the labour force (41%).'

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.  

Canberra, 1 August 2013

Further information: Justin Harvey, AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5057, mob. 0407 915 851