UWS explores brighter futures for boys on International Men's Day

Men's health researchers at the University of Western Sydney are urging all Australians to consider the health of their boys and men on International Men's Day.

International Men's Day is celebrated across the world on November 19 and provides a timely opportunity to recognise the value and importance of men's contributions to the world as well as considering issues around male health in Australia. The theme in 2011 is 'Giving Boys The Best Possible Start In Life.'

This theme is timely given the UWS Men's Health and Information Centre's (MHIRC) work on improving male health from birth to old age.

"Giving boys a healthy start in life means exploring a wide range of factors," says Professor John Macdonald, Director of MHIRC at the University of Western Sydney.

"The role of an involved and engaged father is one of the most critical factors influencing boys' health in particular," he says.

"An involved father is proven to enable better health outcomes in boys through better engagement in learning, by supporting the family unit and by providing the positive male role models that boys really need."

MHIRC recently hosted a forum on strategies to better engage fathers in child and family health services, an important initiative that aims to strengthen the ability of the health system to fully involve dads in their own and their children's health.

Educating health services about engaging fathers offers benefits in several ways. Firstly, it means that fathers can be welcomed and acknowledged as contributing to their children's health. Secondly, it promotes a balanced approach to child health if both parents are equally involved in making decisions about their children's health. Thirdly, a father who is familiar with the health system is more likely to seek medical advice for his own health.

"The focus of International Men's Day 2011 is absolutely crucial to improving male health outcomes in this country", explains Professor Macdonald.

"From birth onwards, male health is consistently worse than female health so taking the time to consider how health is impacted throughout the life course is essential to improving the health of men and boys in coming decades."

For more information, contact David Thompson, UWS Men's Health and Information Centre on 02 4570 1220 or 0450 108 391.


18 November 2011

Contact: Paul Grocott, Senior Media Officer