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Good Health Management is Not Rocket Science

Calling all Men – Good Health Management is Not Rocket Science

New Zealand men are being encouraged to take simple steps to improve their health status during the annual Men’s Health Week awareness campaign.

Men continue to die earlier than women for all the top ten causes of death, and the health statistics for Maori men continue to lag behind non-Maori. One in eight New Zealand men will experience serious depression during their lifetime, and the suicide rate for New Zealand men is three times that of women.

Men’s Health Week 2014 is supported by Mana Tane Ora o Aotearoa, and the Men’s Health Trust. Registered Master Builders, Cigna, Pit Stop, Nature’s Own, M2 and Life, Unichem and Amcal pharmacies have also thrown their weight behind the campaign to help inform, educate and provide opportunities for New Zealand men to check their health status and take positive action.

Dr Graeme Washer, Medical Director of the Men’s Health Trust, says it’s important to remind men that the problems they face in their lives – physical and mental – are fixable if they learn the really simple things they can do to improve their day-to-day wellbeing and overall long-term health.

“It’s important not to generalise as many men are proactive about their health, but the typical attitude is ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ and ‘I don’t need to worry about it because I’m coping OK”. The problem is that the male psyche wants to project an image that “everything is fine, I’m staunch, I’m okay and I can hold it all in“ then health professionals like me see these guys when the wheels come off. We then have to scrape them up off the floor when things are much more difficult.”

“It’s not rocket science,” he says. “Good health self-management is simple and something guys can learn and practice. It comes down to eating less and smarter, understanding more about basic nutrition, doing a combination of regular load bearing and aerobic exercise, maintaining good human relationships with a couple of really good male friends, and having a coach (doctor or other health professional) to get a better understanding about health matters specific to yourself.”

Dr Washer says if men want to learn how to fix their car or something else, they’ll go and learn about it, and the same approach should apply to learning about their health. He says the Men’s Health Survey at is a useful tool to encourage men to start thinking about various aspects of their health and to identify areas they’d like to know more about.

“It’s all about men educating themselves and understanding the simple things they can do to live a long and healthier life,” says Dr Washer. “This is the week to fill out the survey, pop into a pharmacy for a free Men’s Health Pit Stop Check or visit your doctor for an annual check up.”


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