June 9-15 is International Men's Health Week, and it's the perfect opportunity to learn more about what you can do to protect your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The event is all about celebrating the everyday achievements of boys and men everywhere, while getting healthier in the process.
Men's Health Week is focused on two main components. The first looks at the factors in male environments that can influence health outcomes, while the second is about resolving issues and creating positive environments.
In 2014, the event aims to get people to celebrate men and boys and their achievements in the areas of schooling, family, contribution, friends, work and fathering.
What are the issues affecting men's health?
As of June 2012, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated there were 11.3 million males residing in Australia. A 2011 paper from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) states that men and women have different health needs, due to the differences in biology and societal roles associated with each gender.
According to the paper, titled 'The Health of Australia's Males', many males engage in beneficial lifestyle choices that have a positive impact on health outcomes. During the 2009-10 period, for example, approximately two-thirds of males participated in some form of sport or physical activity. In 2007-08, almost 40 per cent of males also discussed healthy lifestyle issues with a professional.
However, there are several factors that can affect men's health. This includes fruit and vegetable intake, participation in sport and physical activity, adequate physical activity, smoking, excess body weight, alcohol consumption and others.
What can you do?
Men's Health Week encourages everyone to celebrate the positive influence of men and boys, and in doing so, have the important discussions about achieving better health. Taking a proactive approach to health and wellbeing can have many benefits years later.
Access to high quality medical care is a key part of looking after yourself, and that's where the right health insurance can prove to be very valuable. Depending on your policy, you can arrange cover for basic hospital treatments, ancillary benefits or a combination of both.
You can also use this event to encourage your family to get active together, and make a conscious commitment to changing unhealthy eating habits.
Men's Health Week may run for seven days only, but the journey towards better health is an ongoing process. Changing your routine or habits can seem difficult at first, but making healthier choices will pay off over the long term. With the right nutrition, exercise and access to medical care, you can support your own health and that of your family for years to come.