Vancouver, B.C. (October 5, 2016) A new men’s health study finds middle-aged men smoke more tobacco, consume more harmful levels of alcohol and have more excess weight than middle-aged women in Canada. The study, based on men and women between the ages of 30 and 64, shows that gender matters when studying differences in lifestyle choices and their effect on the population’s economic burden.
Don’t Change Much: The Economic Impact of Modest Health Behavior Changes in Middle-Aged Men by Dr. Hans Krueger, was recently published in the American Journal of Men’s Health. The study found that middle-aged Canadian males are more likely to smoke tobacco (26.4% vs. 20.2%), consume hazardous or harmful levels of alcohol (14.6% vs. 8.2%), and have excess weight (65.6% vs. 47.1%) than middle-aged Canadian females, resulting in an annual economic burden that is 27% higher in males than females.
“Small changes to lifestyle behaviours will have a big health impact on the individual, population health and the economy over time,” said Hans Krueger, Health Economist. If just 1% of middle-aged Canadian men changed their lifestyle habits each year between 2013 – 2036 by quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, achieving a healthy weight and getting more active, the total saving to the economy would be $50.7 billion. Projecting to 2036, the savings that year alone would be $4.5 billion in a single year with this 1% change in lifestyle behaviour.
The study was commissioned by the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) as part of their DontChangeMuch.ca campaign for guys to live more active and healthier lives. “70 per cent of men’s health problems are preventable. The combination of four healthy lifestyle factors — maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, following a healthy diet, and not smoking can reduce risks of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancers,” said Dr. Larry Goldenberg co-author of the study, and Founder of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation.
“There is a real need in Canada to provide men health messages in a way they can truly hear, absorb and act on,” said Wayne Hartrick, President of CMHF. A message from our Don’t Change Much campaign is that taking your health seriously is not a sign of weakness, but courage; it’s not just for you, but for your family, friends and community,” said Hartrick.
The economic burden in the report includes both direct costs such as hospital care, physician services and prescription drugs as well as indirect costs associated with disability and premature mortality caused by the four risk factors.
ABOUT CANADIAN MEN’S HEALTH FOUNDATION
Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) is a national, not for profit organization with a mission to inspire Canadian men and their families to live healthier lives. The statistics around men’s health in Canada are alarming; 70% of men’s health problems can be prevented by adopting healthy lifestyles. Learn more at MensHealthFoundation.ca, YouCheck.ca and DontChangeMuch.ca.