Men's health policy: it is time for action

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Men's health policy: it is time for action

Men's health in the shadows

In this Wiley Clinical Healthcare Hub article, you'll learn about:

  • The mortality burden of men

" Men have a weaker immune response to respiratory infections, for example, and they are more likely to drink alcohol at unsafe levels and smoke. They are less likely to wash their hands regularly or seek medical help at the right time.3 Crucially, a higher proportion of men have an underlying health condition, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, that can significantly increase the risk of serious COVID-19 disease. "

  • What has caused policy inaction

" . One of the most significant barriers to policy progress is that gender is not a priority issue for global health organisations. Many have formal strategies about gender but in practice few have prioritised the issue.12 When gender is addressed, it is often assumed to be synonymous with women,13 with discussions about gender still tending to focus on discrimination against women and women's empowerment (clearly both very important issues) but rarely include men and male gender norms. "

  • What the future holds for men's health policy

" The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), published by the United Nations,15 present a particularly significant opportunity. Goal 3 contains commitments to reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one third by 2030, promoting mental health and wellbeing, strengthening the prevention and treatment of substance abuse (including narcotic drug abuse and the harmful use of alcohol), and halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents. These commitments, if successfully implemented, would be particularly beneficial to the health of men and boys across the world; equally, they cannot be optimally realised without an approach that takes account of the specific health needs and health behaviours of men and boys. "

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