William Eichler 13 October 2015

Councils urged to tackle inequality in men's health services

Only 18% of councils are collecting gendered health data, according to the findings of a new report.

Men Behaving Badly? Ten Questions Council Scrutiny Can Ask About Men’s Health, argues that without understanding the different health outcomes faced by men and women it is impossible for councils to tailor health services and interventions to meet the specific needs of men and women.

Published by the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CPS) and the Men’s Health Forum (MHF), the report also argues that a lack of tailored health services impacts men in particular because their health is worse than women’s across a number of areas.

On average, men live four years less than women in the UK, a figure that rises to ten years in some deprived areas. Men also have a 37% higher chance of dying from cancer and 67% higher chance of dying from cancers that affect both men and women.

The data for the report was gathered by analysing 147 Joint Strategic Needs Assessments from 2014 and through Freedom of Information requests. The FoI requests revealed that only 29,000 men had received weight loss help from local authorities last year. Given that there are 21 million men who are overweight, this points to a serious gap between need and provision.

The report provides practical guidance on what councils can do to better understand and configure their health services to tackle some of the health inequalities men face.

Martin Tod, chief executive at Men’s Health Forum, said: ‘In the UK, one man in five dies before the age of sixty-five. Our new guide is designed to help councils and councillors play their part in tackling that.

'Most of the difference in life expectancy and health between men and women - and men in different areas and communities - tracks back to lifestyle factors. Councillors can take a leading role in addressing these issues and urge local health services to take action.’

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