Healthy heroes needed to turn around grim health outlook for men

25/08/2015

Sedentary lifestyles, diets high in salt, rising rates of obesity, heart disease and mental illness - the health landscape looks grim for Australians, particularly men.

This growing health crisis has prompted Alfred medical experts to guide men back to basics, with the help of a free booklet that addresses the building blocks of health.  The booklet is launching as part of The Alfred Healthy Heroes Father's Day Appeal, proudly presented by Harris Scarfe.

Director of General Medicine at The Alfred, Professor Harvey Newnham said about two-thirds of Australians have health issues caused by lack of exercise, poor diet and smoking.

"Our bodies are designed to be active, but our modern, sedentary lifestyle increases risk of obesity, heart attack, and diabetes.  These are problems we didn't encounter in such high numbers a generation ago," Prof Newnham said.

With cardiovascular disease still a leading cause of death in Australia, heart health is a prime focus of the booklet, along with the other four main building blocks: diet, sleep, exercise and mental health.

Healthy Men busts the myths around fad diets, simplifies the factors around heart disease, and provides tips on sleeping well and warding off common conditions like anxiety and depression.

No longer are the physical and mental aspects of the body treated in isolation says Alfred psychiatrist, A/Prof Steve Ellen.

"It's been a western philosophy to look at the mind separately from the body, but they are forever linked," A/Prof Ellen said.

"What you eat and drink can affect your mood, your levels of activity can affect your thinking and your sleep habits can affect your judgement and work performance."

Proceeds from The Alfred Healthy Heroes Father's Day Appeal will help support the expansion of The Alfred's Cardiac Centre, and boost capacity to provide vital procedures for the growing number of Victorians with serious heart conditions.

Key health facts

  • Every day, 98 Australian men have a heart attack. One-in-seven will die.
  • Rates of obesity have doubled in Australia over the last two decades. More than 62 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese.
  • Alcohol is the most widely used drug in our community, and can exacerbate many mental health conditions.
  • Australians, on average, spend 55 per cent to 75 per cent of the day seated, or inactive. Moderate exercise makes up only five per cent of our day.
  • One-in-eight men will experience depression during their lifetime, and one-in-five men will suffer from anxiety.

Pick up a free copy of the booklet Basic building blocks of men's health: The heart of the matter at selected Harris Scarfe stores, Dulux Trade centres, HealthSmart Pharmacies, Thomson Real Estate offices, The Good Guys Brighton, Bunnings and Gazman stores.

Please give to The Alfred Healthy Heroes Father's Day Appeal, proudly presented by Harris Scarfe today. 

Visit alfredfoundation.org.au or phone 1800 888 878.