The health of Australian men & women
Distinct health & welfare needs related to gender & biological sex
Posted on 07.01.2020
Men and women have distinct health and welfare needs and concerns related to their gender and biological sex. This is illustrated by different rates of injury, illness and mortality; different attitudes towards health and other risks; the way each group uses health services; and differences in their health outcomes and wellbeing.
Men and women have different life expectancies and rates of certain chronic diseases, and use the health care system in different ways. For example, rates of coronary heart disease are higher among men, women are more likely to die from dementia and Alzheimer disease, and women use health services more frequently.
Men and women also have different experiences of poverty, incarceration, violence, and homelessness. For example, women are more likely than men to use homelessness services and to be a victim of domestic violence. Men are more likely to be in prison and to experience physical violence than women.
Men and women also experience different health and welfare outcomes within population subgroups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, rural and remote communities, and different socioeconomic areas.
In 2018, just under half of Australia’s population—49%, or 12.4 million people—were male. On average, Australian males experience different health outcomes to Australian females. They are more likely than females to engage in risky health behaviours and to die prematurely. They are also more likely to be homeless or in custody. Compared with females, males experienced more of their total disease burden due to dying early from disease and injury than from living with disease.
1 in 2 Australian men are sufficiently physically active
In 2018, just over half of Australia’s population—51% or 12.6 million people—were female. On average, Australian females experience different health outcomes than Australian males. Compared with males, females have a higher life expectancy and experienced more of their total disease burden due to living with disease rather than from dying early from disease and injury. They are more likely than males to experience sexual violence and to have multiple chronic conditions.
2 in 5 Australian women aged 18 and over are sufficiently physically active
There are important biological and behavioural differences between men and women that lead to different health and welfare outcomes throughout life. By understanding these differences targeted interventions can be applied.
See also: Australia’s Health Tracker 2019
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