Men’s Health - Costing Canada 37 Billion Dollars Annually - Health Risk Services - Health Insurance providers Calgary

Did you know that men go to the doctor 20% less than women? Men come up with a ton of excuses as to why this might be: it’s harder for them to take time off or women are just more in tune with their bodies, but studies show that even the men who do go often ignore their doctor’s recommendations. This had lead to two problematic outcomes:

  1. Canadian women outlive their male counterparts. Canadian women, who live to be at least 65, usually pass away around 87 years old. Canadian men scrape 84.
  2. Avoiding the doctor means men only go when things have gone seriously wrong, and they end up costing taxpayers $37 billion annually. A whopping 70% of those costs are entirely avoidable.

Men’s Health - Costing Canada 37 Billion Dollars Annually - Health Risk Services - Health Insurance providers Calgary

The problem is men aren’t just refusing to see their GP once a year: men consistently have poorer health than women. They smoke more. They drink more. They’re more overweight. They also engage in higher risk behaviour.

Smoking

is slowly decreasing in developed nations like Canada, but in developing nations, it’s on the rise. Research estimates that there are currently 3 billion smokers. 11% of women worldwide smoke, but almost 49% of men are lighting up. We don’t want to force anyone to repeat grade school health class, we know that Canadian men understand smoking is bad for them. What we don’t understand is why Canadian men are not only more likely to begin smoking, but they’re also significantly less likely to use resources that help them quit.

Alcohol

is one of the most abused legal drugs. When consumed wisely, alcohol is mostly harmless, but binge drinking and alcoholism aren’t uncommon. Health officials generally define moderate alcohol consumption as 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks a day for men. It’s important to note that individuals who binge drink over the weekend (5 drinks or more in one day), but do not drink at all during the week qualify as heavy drinkers or binge drinkers not as moderate drinkers. Approximately 1 in 4 men over consume alcohol putting themselves at risk for liver damage among other health problems. Only around 1 in 10 women do the same. Men are also more than twice as likely to develop a dependency on alcohol.

While some studies have found that consuming 1 or 2 servings of certain alcohols (usually reported as red wine) may provide some health benefits, we never recommend that individuals begin or increase their consumption for perceived potential  health benefits. This is because even moderate levels of drinking are correlated with an increased risk of breast cancer, injury from violence, drowning, and injuries from falls and motor vehicle crashes.

Obesity

is a rising problem in developing nations like the US and Canada. In Canada, we tend to make fun of our Southern friends for their weight-problems, but over the past 5 years, Canadians have been getting consistently fatter. Today, a full 54% of Canadians are overweight or obese, and once again men are doing a poorer job of keeping their health in mind. Nearly 62% of Canadian men are overweight compared to around 42% of women.

Overall, it’s pretty easy to see that men aren’t doing a great job of taking care of their bodies. But bodies aren’t vehicles that can be run down and then repaired or replaced. They require regular tune ups, and they can’t deal long term with excessive amounts of harsh chemicals like alcohol and all the junk in cigarettes. Parents who smoke or drink too much are also more likely to have children who smoke or drink too much. So if you can’t bother sorting out your health or going to the doctor for yourself, maybe do it for your kids.

At Health Risk, we want to see all Canadians being the healthiest people they can be. For once, it seems like women have a head start. It’s times more moms, daughters, sisters, and wives everywhere to reach back a hand and try to help our menfolk to catch up.