Irish Times | Michelle McDonagh

There’s a classic joke that goes: “Men die, on average, five years younger than women do. Why? Because they want to.” Or have you heard the one about why women live longer than men? “Because they are not married to women.”

However, the health of men in Ireland is really nothing to joke about as Irish men have higher death rates than women at all ages, and for all leading causes of death. Men are more likely than women to engage in risky behaviours such as speeding, drink driving, not wearing seat belts, and misuse of alcohol and drugs, and are more likely to be overweight or obese. And men in Ireland are four times more likely to die of suicide than women.

Finian Murray, HSE Men’s Health Development Officer, and amateur comedian, says men tend to see health as “women’s business”. Consequently, they take few preventive health measures and are less willing to seek medical help. Late presentation to health services by men leads to a large number of problems becoming untreatable.

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