Marmot calls for action on men’s health

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 |

Advocates of men’s health have just received an unexpected but very welcome support from one of the most significant figures in public health globally. Professor Sir Michael Marmot has, for the first time, stated that ‘More focus on men’s health [is] needed.’ These few words could make a huge difference.

Fair Society, Healthy Lives, the hugely-influential Marmot Review on the social determinants of health in the UK, was published in 2010. The Review set out the key areas that needed to be improved to make a significant impact in reducing health inequalities. The report found that the social conditions in which people are born, live, work and age determine variations in health and life expectancy. The Review, understandably, focused on socio-economic inequalities but barely addressed cross-cutting issues such as race and gender. Men’s health was completely overlooked.

Marmot has now provided an update, The Marmot Indicators 2014, on progress to reduce inequalities in health since Fair Society, Healthy Lives. In it, he highlights the extent to which inequalities in life expectancy at birth are greater for men by analysing the numbers of local authorities with more than a 10 year gap in life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas within them.

For males, there are 36 local authorities with a gap of 10 years or more for men, and eight local authorities with a gap of 10 years or more for females.

This gender inequality can also be described by looking at the other end of the scale; at the number of areas with a life expectancy gap of fewer than five years. For males, there are five local authorities with a gap of five years or fewer, and for females there are 50 local authorities where the gap is five years or fewer.

The update’s key messages reflect this problem by suggesting that policy is needed to address the fact that ‘inequalities are worse for men than women’; in short ‘More focus on men’s health [is] needed.’

Hopefully, Marmot will now flesh out this call to action with a range of proposals that will encourage public health organisations, both statutory and non-statutory in the UK and internationally, to begin to address an inequality that has been overlooked by too many for too long.

Comments are closed.