Over 50% of premature deaths among European men are preventable, a new report from the European Commission has found.
The report states that men’s health in Europe is a serious public health concern, and identifies lifestyle factors and poor access to services as major underlying problems.
Led by Leeds Metropolitan University’s Professor of Men’s Health Alan White, the report examines data from 34 European countries.
A major conclusion is that men are at greater risk than women of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancers that are not gender-specific, infectious diseases and accidents.
However, preventable risk factors are identified as causing a high proportion of this health disadvantage – which could thus be significantly reduced by targeted action.
Key findings of the report include:
• Over 50% of premature deaths among men are avoidable.
• Men are less likely than women to engage in routine or preventative health checks.
• Cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death among older men.
• Testicular cancer, despite the availability of effective treatment, remains the leading cause of cancer death among men aged 20–35.
The report comments: “The extent and depth of the problem of premature mortality is one of the most striking and worrying findings, especially as it involves nearly the whole spectrum of health conditions.”
In addition, it notes that “current configuration of health services makes it difficult for many men to utilise them as effectively as they should do,” and argues that health education to improve men’s awareness of risk factors and access to diagnostic services is necessary.
More optimistically, the report concludes: “Where a male-focused approach has been adopted there have been marked improvements in uptake and success of health initiatives.”