While the average life expectancy of Australian males is high by international standards, they still suffer from unacceptably high rates of preventable chronic diseases and account for a disproportionate burden of most non-sex specific diseases including mental illness, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Males account for the majority of deaths from suicide and injury as well as from vehicle accidents and occupationally related causes of death and injury. Selected subgroups of males fare worse than the ‘average’ male. Standardised mortality rates point to over 23,000 excess male deaths per year compared with women, most of which are from preventable causes. The watershed 2010 National Male Health Policy has languished with lack of funding and limited endorsement by the current Government means there are precious few policies at State or National level that specifically promote or address the health needs of men and boys. Policy, practice and funding, including for research, is urgently required if there is to be any improvement in the parlous state of male health in Australia in the 21st century.
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