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Improving men's health: successful initiatives and barriers to progress

13 June 2019
Volume 28 · Issue 11


Peter Baker, Director, Global Action on Men's Health (, discusses initiatives to encourage men to take care of their health and examines the barriers that prevent men from seeking help

Men's Health Week 2019, which began on 10 June, is not just an opportunity to highlight the many problems facing men and boys. It is also a time to celebrate what is going well. And there is some genuinely good news to share, not least that men are living significantly longer and healthier lives than was the case 25 years ago. Life expectancy for men in the UK in 1992–1994 was 74 years; by 2015–2017, it had increased to 79 years (Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2018a).

Cigarette smoking, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality rates among men have steadily declined in the UK. There has also been a marked decline in alcohol consumption in young men (Ng Fat et al, 2018). Men can now access national screening programmes for bowel cancer, chlamydia and abdominal aortic aneurysms, as well as NHS Health Checks. Later this year, the national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme will be extended to adolescent boys, thereby protecting them against the cancers caused by HPV as well as genital warts.

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