Sun, sport, BBQs and beaches may be some of the most loved aspects of Aussie living for men but despite this relaxed lifestyle, only one in five (17%) blokes claim they're at their happiest and healthiest, according to new research released today by the Movember Foundation.
The Movember Man Files, an inaugural study by the Movember Foundation, looks behind the Mo into Aussie men's awareness and attitudes about their health – revealing what makes them tick when it comes to their health and what they do (or don't do) when they get sick.
The findings reveal:
Australian men aged 30-34 are the happiest and healthiest bunch, with almost half (48%) stating they are the happiest they have been in their life and one in three (32%) at their healthiest
On the flip side, the late 40s presents a period of heightened risk for Australian men, as only one in ten (10%) see themselves as at their healthiest and 29 per cent admit to being their happiest - the lowest rate across all age groups.
One in three (33%) men don't say they take their health seriously, while the same proportion don't know what they need to do to stay healthy. Three in four guys also don't know the symptoms of prostate cancer (71%) and testicular cancer (75%) and 1 in 2 (50%) aren't familiar with the symptoms of depression.
Movember spokesperson, Jeremy Macvean, Movember's Asia Pacific Director, said the findings demonstrate there's still more to be done when it comes to changing the face of men's health. 'The male mindset is a hairy beast so it's been an interesting exercise to delve deeper in to the psyche of Aussie men and their attitudes towards their health," said Jeremy.
'Over the last few years, there is no doubt that the issues of men's health have become more common topics of conversation – both in the media and in day-to-day life. With less than 20 per cent of Aussie guys at their happiest and healthiest, the findings highlight the urgency in which Australian men, and indeed men around the world, need to sit up and take notice of their health and well-being."
While family, health and relationships are the most important things in the lives of Australian men, many are reluctant to speak with loved ones about mental health issues, opting for impersonal sources and topics instead:
Google trumps mates (35% vs 28%)
GPs vastly outrank partners (83% vs 68%) and
Twice as many men would talk politics with mates as would talk about mental health concerns (56% vs 28%)
Another compelling insight dispels the myth that sex is all men think about with only four per cent of Australian men ranking it as the most important aspect of their life. Family, health, relationships, home and money all ranked higher.
'Five times as many guys do nothing at all about a mental health concern versus a physical one," adds Jeremy. 'We want every man across the country to take their health more seriously – mental as well as physical."
'By taking part in Movember and harnessing the power of the Mo, blokes can start conversations about their health and raise much-needed funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems."
When it comes to taking action, Australian men are far quicker to respond to a physical health issue over a mental one. One in four (25%) will wait several months to seek advice if concerned about their mental health, compared to 86 per cent who would action a physical issue in just a matter of weeks.
Last year, almost a million moustaches were grown across the world during the month formerly known and November. Movember now runs official campaigns in 21 countries and more than four million Mo Bros and Mo Sisters have raised over $580 million globally for men's health to date.
Men around the nation will once again let their upper lips do the talking as they gear up for the annual Movember campaign, kicking off on Saturday 1 November. While the men in their lives get hairy, Mo Sistas can support them by raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health. Sign up at Movember.com to get your Mo party started and be ready to rumble come Movember.
Sign up, grow and donate at Movember.com
Question: What is Movember?
Jeremy Macvean: The Movember Foundation is the leading global organisation committed to changing the face of men's health. By embracing the power of the moustache, the Movember Foundation seeks to raise awareness and much needed funds for men's health issues. Since its beginnings in 2003 the Movember movement has gained global appeal, spreading to 21 countries, engaging more than four million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas and raising an incredible $580 million for men's health. It is something which has grown to have an impact worldwide.
Question: What does Movember raise funds for?
Jeremy Macvean: The Movember Foundation raises vital funds for serious men's health issues, namely prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health The Foundation has funded more than 800 men's health programs in 21 countries, and this work is saving and improving the lives of men all over the world. These programs are managed by the Movember Foundation as well as with our local partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and beyondblue.
Question: How can males get involved in Movember?
Jeremy Macvean: Sign up at Movember.com to become a Mo Bro and pledge to grow a Mo this Movember! Starting clean-shaven on the 1st Movember, guys then grow and groom the best moustache they can muster over the next 30 days.
Ladies can get involved too, by signing up as a Mo Sista. A Mo Sista is a woman who loves a moustache and is committed to raising awareness and funds for men's health. Participating in Movember as a Mo Bro or Mo Sista sparks conversations about men's health issues and goes a long way in raising much needed awareness and funds.
Question: Where you surprised to find that only one in five (17%) Aussie blokes claim they're currently at their happiest and healthiest?
Jeremy Macvean: The male mindset is a hairy beast so it's been an interesting exercise to delve deeper in to the psyche of Aussie men and their attitudes towards their health. We were surprised to find that less than 20 per cent of Aussie guys are at their happiest and healthiest, and it's clear Australian men, and indeed men around the world, need to sit up and take notice of their health and well-being.
Question: Can you tell us what the main symptoms are for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and depression?
Jeremy Macvean: PROSTATE CANCER
Note: the majority of prostate cancers have no symptoms, and it is really only advanced cancers that have spread throughout the prostate (and beyond) that cause urinary symptoms such as:
Urinary issues (slow flow, hesitancy, frequency, urgency)
Blood in the urine or semen
Reduced ability to get an erection
Men may experience few or no symptoms of testicular cancer, however important warning signs to watch for include:
Swelling or a lump in either testicle (usually painless)
A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
Change in the size and shape of the testicles
Aches or pain in the lower abdomen or groin
A sudden build-up of fluid in the scrotum
Pain or discomfort in a testicle or in the scrotum
Enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue
Signs and symptoms can include all or some of the below:
Lack of interest in work, hobbies and doing things you normally enjoy
Low energy levels and lack of motivation
Sleeping too much
Lack of concentration
Anger or irritability
Question: When you have a mental health concerns – who would you talk to?
Jeremy Macvean: It's important to speak with whoever you are most comfortable Whether that be your partner, your GP or your mate, the key thing is having a conversation so you can begin to take the right steps towards getting the help you need.
Question: What's your advice to men who don't take their health seriously?
Jeremy Macvean: It's time to sit up and take more notice of your health and well-being. You can do that by talking to someone you trust about health issues and by taking notice of what's going on in your own body. And it's important you take action if you feel you things perhaps aren't as they should be.
Question: Can you talk us through Movember's plans to educate on men's health?
Jeremy Macvean: To date, the Movember Foundation has raised $580 million to fund more than 800 programs globally to help change the face of men's health. Funds are invested in four programs areas:
awareness and education
living with and beyond cancer
staying mentally healthy, living with and beyond mental illness
Last year, 2.3 billion conversations were had around the world as a result of Movember. Through the power of the Mo, we're helping men get better educated about their health by sparking conversations and encouraging them to take action when it comes to their health.
In 2013, 99 per cent of Movember participants talked to someone about their health, three-quarters became more aware of the health issues they face and half of participants told someone they should take action to improve their health.
Question: How can we support Movember?
Jeremy Macvean: Sign up to become a Mo Bro or Mo Sista and pledge to grow (or support) a Mo this Movember! Alternatively, you can donate at Movember.com and do your part in helping to fund vital men's health programs.
Interview by Brooke Hunter