The unhealthy state of some Australians

Belinda Tasker
(Australian Associated Press)

Aussie men are more likely than women to be obese, smoke, take illicit drugs and commit suicide, the nation’s latest health report card shows.

While most Australians rate their health as excellent or very good, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has uncovered some bleak findings about exactly the kind of shape we’re in.

In a handful of areas men and women come out equal, with one in two having a chronic disease and the same number experiencing a mental health problem.

Both sexes also share coronary heart disease as their most common cause of death.

However men are three times more likely to take their own lives, and have nearly twice the rates of death from coronary heart disease and lung cancer as women.

Seven in 10 men are overweight or obese compared to just over half of Aussie women, with double the number of blokes as women classified as risky drinkers.

Men are also more likely to smoke than women (17 per cent compared to 11 per cent), and take illicit drugs (18 per cent compared to 13 per cent). More than one in two men also reported some kind of sexual difficulty.

Disturbingly, half of all males and 41 per cent of females had experienced some form of physical violence since turning 15.

While chronic disease rates were the same for both sexes, more than half of all women had more than one condition such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes, and mental health problems.

Double the number of women also died from dementia and Alzheimer disease.

Both men and women aged between 18 and 64 were found to get enough exercise.

But women continue to outlive men, with the average female born between 2013 and 2015 expected to live until a ripe old age of 84.5 years compared to 80.4 years for blokes.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia

Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

Australian readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.


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