Watching waist

BY Belinda Nolan
BRIMBANK men are less healthy than women, a new report has revealed.
The recently released Victorian Population Health Survey collects data on the health of residents across every council in the state.
The findings shows Brimbank men suffered poorer heath than women in five out of six categories in 2008, including smoking, alcohol consumption, weight, nutrition, physical activity and psychological health.
While only 12.9 per cent of women in the municipality smoked, a whopping 30.3 per cent of men smoked, almost 7 per cent higher than the Victorian average.
Men were also tightening the belt more with 40 per cent classified as overweight, compared with 22.9 per cent of women.
Males were also more likely to be obese and to drink alcohol, while less than half were getting enough vegetables in their diet.
Generally, the report showed Brimbank residents were too sedentary, with only 47.7 per cent of men and 44.8 per cent of women having the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise, significantly lower than the Victorian average of 61 per cent and 59.7 per cent respectively.
The city also had a lower life expectancy than the Victorian average, but less smokers and alcohol drinkers.
Anthony Lai from Brimbank’s Men’s Shed said he was not surprised by the survey results.
Mr Lai said many older men suffered health problems after leaving full time work.
Men often had less awareness of their health and were reluctant to visit a doctor, Mr Lai said.
“It’s a complex social issue that doesn’t have an easy solution,” Mr Lai said.
“Firstly, we need to ensure men have access to the appropriate welfare services including health and employment.
“But we also need to ensure they have the self confidence and knowledge to access the services and participate in the community.”
More than 34,000 people from across the state were surveyed as part of the study.

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