HBSC home





News Item:
HBSC data supports Mens' Health strategy for Europe in new WHO report

On average, men die younger than women. Men are more likely to die from cancer, cardiovascular disease, suicide, road accidents, and other major causes of death. They are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol excessively, and eat a poor diet. In many countries and for many diseases, men also use primary care services less effectively than women.

A new report from the World Health Organization, The health and well-being of men in the WHO European Region: better health through a gender approach, reveals that in Europe, those problems are particularly acute in countries with the lowest levels of gender equality. 

Living in a country with gender equality benefits men’s health as evidenced through lower mortality rates, higher well-being, half the risk of being depressed, higher likelihood to have protected sex, lower suicide rates and a 40% reduced risk of a violent death.

The report was launched at the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in Rome, and provides background to the Strategy on the Health and Well-being of Men. It covers 41 countries and uses the latest and most relevant data, including HBSC study data, to take a detailed look at men’s health throughout the lifecourse.

This analysis found that throughout Europe, men are more likely than women to face health problems because of smoking and drinking, unhealthy, salt-heavy diets, and through injury.

The report’s authors suggest that health risks from substance abuse or unhealthy diets are not inherent to being a man; they are linked to cultures that embrace stereotypical ideas of masculinity. For example, they say, ”a study of men in the Russian Federation suggested that heavy drinking of strong spirits ‘elevates or maintains a man’s status in working-class social groups by facilitating access to power associated with the hegemonic ideal of the real working man.'” Men, in other words, do not drink more because they are men; they drink more because of social pressures that reward them for doing so.

Policymakers should take seriously the idea that the kinds of “masculinities” prevalent in societies with low gender equality are toxic to men themselves.

This report helps raise awareness of the excess burden of morbidity and mortality in men. Concerted global action to reduce this burden could have a transformative social, health and economic impacts. As part of this work, we must not only acknowledge the benefits of such action to men, but also to recognise and measure its potential benefits to women, children and society as a whole.

Europe's leaders should take a more systematic approach to gender and men’s and boy's health. All health policies must be gender-proofed, data sex-disaggregated, training enhanced, and services reconfigured to ensure maximum accessibility.

see here for further details

item 5101
[12-09-2018 to 31-07-2020]


HBSC News Archive: