Leeds Met health experts to present to Members of European Parliament
Professor Alan White, Director of the Centre for Men's Health at Leeds Metropolitan University was commissioned by the European Commission to produce a report which gives the first complete picture of the breadth of issues affecting men's health across Europe. Professor White brought together 36 leading researchers from 34 countries across Europe to undertake the research which highlights the state of men's health in Europe as a serious public health concern.
The findings are set to be presented to a group of MEPs and key European decision-makers at an event at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday 26 April which could influence men's health policy across Europe.
The report "The State of Men's Health in Europe" reveals patterns emerging from data taken from 34 European countries showing marked differences in health outcomes amongst men both between and within countries. Poor lifestyles and preventable risk factors account for a high share of premature death and illness in men, illustrating that their health disadvantage is not necessarily written in the genes but can be remedied in part by targeted policies and actions.
Speaking about the impact of the report Professor White said: "We welcome the The findings have major implications for every country in Europe as they impact on health, social care and for economic prosperity. Even the countries with the best health outcomes still had significant numbers of premature deaths, and significant gaps between the health of men in the most affluent and least affluent environments."
Other key findings from the report include:
- men tend to be worse hit by socio-economic factors and men in the lowest socio-economic groups have the poorest health outcomes of anyone
- women live longer than men and have a lower morbidity of many major diseases. Men are at greater risk of nearly all causes of death that should affect men and women equally, and are more vulnerable at an earlier age
- this is not about "men v women": the lives of both men and women can be severely affected by the health challenges men face and how they respond to them.
- there is a persistent trend of higher rates of premature mortality not just in men as compared to women, but when comparing men from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds
- the higher rates of deaths in both communicable and non-communicable disease are, in part, a result of men's riskier lifestyles but are also underpinned by the social determinants of men's health. In all Member States, men who live in poorer material and social conditions are likely to eat less healthily, take less exercise, be overweight/obese, consume more alcohol, be more likely to smoke, engage in substance misuse, and to engage in more risky sexual behaviours. All of these have significant impacts on length and quality of life
- most of this premature morbidity and mortality is preventable, and can be addressed by targeted activity across the lifespan
- despite men's generally poor health, they remain under-informed about health issues, take excessive risks with their health and would benefit from more proactive use of health services
- improvements in the physical and mental health of men are necessary to ensure the economic and social wellbeing of the entire European Community.