How men's lifestyles double their risk of an early death

June 17, 2011, University of Sussex

A University of Sussex psychologist is one of the key authors of a major new report that reveals that death rates of men aged 16-64 is twice that of women in the same age range in the European Union.

In The State of Men's Health in Europe, produced by the European Men's Health Forum and launched in the European Parliament on 14th June, Dr Richard de Visser identifies how poor lifestyles and preventable risks are among the factors leading to high rates of in men.

In particular, Dr de Visser looked at the effect of alcohol, and . He says: "Lifestyles are not simply the product of individual choice. Those who are in poor material and social conditions eat less healthily, exercise less and are more likely to smoke or misuse drugs. In the context of addressing among men, there is a growing awareness of the need for in early life among men engaged in damaging health behaviours."

The report shows that every year 630,000 men of working age die compared with 300,000 female deaths across the EU27 countries in this age group.

Dr de Visser's analysis found:

• Across Europe, men are more likely than women to have smoked: 63 percent of men have smoked at some point in their lives, compared to 45 per cent of women. In all countries men in higher socioeconomic groups are the least likely to smoke. It is estimated that 15 per cent of all deaths in the EU could be attributed to smoking.

• Men are more likely than women to drink and drink in harmful ways. In 23 out of 31 countries the male death rate from chronic liver disease is at least double that of women.

• Men are more likely than women to use illicit drugs and for the outcome to be negative. For example, 82 per cent of heroin overdose deaths occur in men, with men in their 30s most likely to die from heroin overdoses.

• In all but four of 26 countries there was an overall increase in the rate of new cases of HIV in men over the last decade. This increase was greater among men than women.

The EU-commissioned The State of Men's Health in Europe brings together the official epidemiological data from across Europe and across all major disease areas from cancer and heart disease to mental health. Its lead author Professor Alan White of Leeds Metropolitan University says: "For the first time we have a clear picture of men's health across the EU. Previously we had a series of partial pictures by country or disease area. This now brings it all together so that policy-makers at all levels across Europe can see exactly what they're dealing with and learn from each other."

Men are dying prematurely but the rates at which they do this vary enormously from country to country and even within countries according to region or social group. This is evidenced by the massive differences in male life-expectancy: just 66 years in Latvia compared to 80 in Iceland, for example - a 21% longer life.

President of the European Men's Health Forum Dr Ian Banks says: "This is not just about health. Premature male death undermines the economy, undermines families, undermines women and their health and undermines our social security and health services.'

"Europe will have far fewer men of working age in the years to come so if we're to succeed economically we need them to be in decent health."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.