“On average, 9 Australian’s die every day by suicide. 7 are men.”

In 2018, there were 12.4 million males in Australia—just under half (49%) of the country’s population. Overall, there are 98.4 males for every 100 females. 

So, let’s picture the typical Australian man. What does he look like to you? What industry does he work in, what team does he support, is he married, does he have kids?  

Is he strong, as tough as nails? Would he rather drink a cup of concrete and harden up than go to the doctor?  

According to the AIHW, the typical Australian man was reported 36 years old, lives in a major city, is employed, has a non-school qualification and is married. Probably a lot like yourself, your colleagues or mates.  

But there’s a bigger picture behind what the typical Australian man is. June 13-19th is Men’s Health Week in Australia, and the statistics and trends are pretty alarming.  

Around 1 in 2 males have at least one of the chronic health conditions listed below that impact quality of life and create limitations and disabilities.  

A table listing the incidence of chronic health conditions amongst men

Many of the chronic conditions however, can be avoided or reduce the impact on their health through exercise, diet, accessing health care and reducing risk factors.  

Risk factors for Australian men include: 

  • Reduced physical activity – only 1 in 5 of Australian males meet sufficient Physical Activity Guidelines and Muscle Strengthening Guidelines  
  • Diet – less than 1 in 30 are meeting Australian Fruit and Vegetable Guidelines  
  • Overweight and Obesity – 3 in 4 Australian males are overweight or obese with 3 in 5 having a waist circumference that substantially increases their risk of metabolic disease such as diabetes  
  • Smoking and Alcohol – 1 in 6 Australian men smoke daily and half are exceeding risk drinking guidelines 
  • Work – 9 in 10 people who are killed at work are men  
  • Violence – 2 in 5 men have experienced violence in their life since the age of 15, whether it be physical, sexual or emotional.  

In 2018/19, men claimed 29% less medical services on Medicare, compared to that of females. This means fewer doctor appointments, less medication, less mental health support, less screens, tests and scans and less surgical interventions.  

To put it in perspective, 1 in 40 males delay seeing their GP.   

But why?  

Men’s Health Week 2022 Themes  

Healthy Male is a national organisation that provides easy access to information and research on male reproductive and sexual health. They’ve identified 5 key barriers to men accessing primary health care. 

  1. Hoping it’s not an issue: Denial is a common barrier when taking charge of your health. Health issues are denied because we might not think it’s a big deal, we’re just getting older, mind over matter or maybe we’re scared to find out what’s going on. When we don’t act on our health in the early stages, small problems become bigger issues. Pay attention to what your body is telling you, and do some research on information or support as soon as you notice something isn’t okay.  
  2. Taking too long to do something about your health: Delayed information seeking is when we don’t investigate or act on a sign or symptom in a good time frame. Often, we’ll wait and see if that sore back, or shallow breathing will pass and before we know it, it’s having a big impact on our daily life. Taking action sooner than later is important so you can get back to your best health and reduce the risk of further illness or injury.  
  3. Worried about asking for help is perceived as weakness:  Ever been told to “man up”, “suck it up” or “harden up”? Alarming research shows that some men choose to take their own life, rather than appearing weak by asking for help. Traditional traits of independence, strength and self-reliance are positive in many parts of life, but problematic when it comes to our health and accessing help. Health issues happen to everyone and speaking up about them is the strongest thing you can do.  
  4. Having trouble talking about your health: We get it, sometimes it’s embarrassing or nerve racking to talk about a health concern. But having discussions with our loved ones, mates and health professionals is the first steps to getting the help you might need. Your doctor has seen and heard it all before.  
  5. Feeling unsure about what information to trust: There’s a lot of information out there, with plenty of sources and conflicting ideas. So what do you take on board? Our best advice is to put your trust in the experts. Find reputable, science backed online providers, a GP you are comfortable with and other health professionals who are recommended.  

So how can we overcome these barriers?  

  • Keep things simple, light hearted and fun. The more comfortable you are with your environment, the more likely you are to have some of those tough conversations.  
  • Take initiative, but be patient. As soon as you notice something isn’t quite right, take action. But sometimes results can take a while to get back to you. This can be nerve racking and may cause anxiety. If you need, visit your GP for some guidance on how to best support your mental health through a health concern. 
  • Read up on health information. Make sure its scientifically backed, from organisations, doctors and reputable sources. Visit your doctor in person or via telehealth for a consultation 
  • Book in a bi-annual check-up and keep the dates free. Pick two dates in the year to visit your doctor and don’t change those dates.  
  • Start discussions with your mates. Supportive and inclusive environments are the best way to check up on each other 
  • Know your signs and symptoms. Ready up on some common men’s health concerns and know what to look out for  
  • Check your waist line. Grab a piece of string, measure your waist and compare to a tape measure.  


  • Find a doctor you can trust  
  • Book it in bi-annually. Pick two dates a year where you go visit your doctor for a check-up and don’t change those dates  
  • Start discussions with mates  
  • Read up on some common men’s health concerns – know the signs and symptoms  
  • Check your waist circumference. For men, a waist circumference of <94cm reduces your risk of disease, and >102cm has significant impacts on your health.  





Ready to implement a wellbeing program with tangible benefits for everyone involved?