Men's Health Forum in Ireland now has a new website. To see it, click
Men, on the
island of Ireland, experience a disproportionate burden of ill-health.
This represents a fundamental inequality in health.
Men are dying too young.
Male life expectancy (LE) is just 75.8 years (Republic of Ireland -
75.1 years; Northern Ireland - 76.4 years). This is almost 6 years younger
than that of females and, for certain groups of men, it is younger still.
While it is not possible to disaggregate male LE data for Socio-Economic
Groups (SEG) in Ireland, data from elsewhere show that the gap in LE
for men between the lowest and highest socio-economic groups is as high
as 7.4 years. Therefore, it is probable that, for certain groups of
men on the island of Ireland, their LE may be significantly lower than
that reported here.
lower LE is the fact that men have higher death rates at all ages, and
for all leading causes of death. While many of these conditions are
preventable, their prevalence among men may, in fact, rise in the future.
For example, it is predicted that by 2015 a third of all Irish men will
be clinically obese, thereby increasing their risk of cardiovascular
disease and diabetes in particular. Evidence of sex differences in the
incidence, symptoms, and prognosis of a wide range of health problems
is also well documented.
There is growing evidence
that in constructing, displaying and maintaining their male identity,
men engage in risk behaviours that can be seriously hazardous to their
health. Since sickness may be seen as an expression of weakness, many
men may decide not to seek help and, instead, present a stoical, brave
and unflinching front to the outside world. This may account, in part,
for why, despite their health profile, men in Ireland are reluctant
users of health services and continue to present (too) late in the course
of an illness.
Strategic healthcare, social,
and economic policies are required to address the health inequalities
experienced by men on the island of Ireland. In 2008, the Republic of
Ireland (RoI) became the first country in the world to publish a national
men’s health policy. This policy adopted a broad social determinants
approach to men’s health, and identified areas of action for a
range of government departments and agencies. While this is a significant
step for men’s health in RoI, there is much to be done to ensure
its full implementation and to achieve a similar status for men’s
health in Northern Ireland (NI). Consequently, there is a need for an
awareness-raising body which promotes the health needs of men.
The Men's Health Forum in
Ireland (MHFI) is a voluntary network of individuals and organisations,
men and women, who wish to redress this deficit by collating the key
concerns relating to men's health on the island of Ireland as well as
increasing understanding of these issues.
The links below give more
detail about MHFI and its work ...