Men’s Health Week June 11 – 17, 2018

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Diabetes New Zealand is delighted to add their name and voice to Men’s Health Week in 2018.

Men’s Health Week is an international awareness campaign that encourages men to think about their health in general, about any issues they may have, and outlines easy steps all of us can take to reduce the likelihood or impact of any problems. The week is marked through Europe, the USA and Australia and more countries are added each year.

This year Men’s Health Week will focus on both diabetes and on the health of men in rural areas where health issues are tackled in more isolated and less resourced areas and environments.

Men’s Health Week uses a simple checklist to describe to men the various checks and tests that should be incorporated intoi a health regime. Many men find it too easy to ignore issues or delay getting issues attended to. Men’s Health week provides men – and their partners and loved ones – with the opportunity to start the conversation.

And it can be easily taken from conversation to action with the campaign encouraging men to visit a Life or Unichem Pharmacy  all through June – there are over 350 of them in NZ -  to have a free Blackmores Health Check with the pharmacist and to discuss their checklist score. Men can even get a free blood test done while in pharmacies.

The Accuro What’s Your Score? health check test can be done online on the Men’s Health Week website.

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The MHW campaign benefits from the time and support of a number of well-known New Zealand men who help deliver key messages while normalising perhaps greater attention to one’s own health. 

Rural men face special challenges

At least 640,000 Kiwis live rurally (14% of our population), making our rural population effectively New Zealand’s second largest city. Unfortunately it is a city with lots of health issues simmering below the surface.

Nature, isolation, stress and long, hard hours takes their toll on the health of people living and working in rural settings. Use of health services drops as distance from them increases, and this drop is even higher for secondary or preventative health services.

Rural people have fewer diagnostic tests, cardiovascular referrals and prescriptions, less preventive care and lower health screening rates. Rural areas often have problems maintaining GP and pharmacy services.

Rural people need to cope with significant changes, more so than urban dwellers. They need to face up to changes in the rural industry (such as the massive growth in dairy farming, arrival of M-bovis etc), demographics with younger rural people moving away, climate change, natural disasters, economic, political and social changes.

These special challenges make it important for rural people to pay even greater attention to their health. Just like farmers check and maintain farm equipment, so they need to check and maintain their most important aset, their health.

Diabetes New Zealand is fully aware of the difficulties of living with diabetes in rural settings. The chance to make this special population group even more aware of their health is one the organisation embraces in Men’s Health Week 2018.

Jo Chapman