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Are men in danger of extinction?


Despite having had most of the social determinants of health in their favour, men have higher mortality rates for all 15 leading causes of death and have a life expectancy about seven years shorter than women's. An editorial in this week's BMJ asks are men in danger of extinction?

Men's reluctance to embrace preventive strategies has also contributed substantially to the spread of AIDS. There is a sustained increase in psychosocial disorders in men, including alcohol and substance abuse, mid-life crisis, depression, and domestic violence, while men's increasing aggression also remains an unsolved health and societal problem.

Although there is still a long way to go in many societies around the world, in most developed countries women are making rapid gains in terms of equality and opportunities in the workforce. With the advent of sperm banks, in vitro fertilisation, sex sorting techniques, human cloning, and same sex marriages, it is reasonable to wonder about the future role of men in society, say the authors.

There is an urgent need to advertise and promote men's health in a positive way, stress the authors. They hope that initiatives such as the first World Congress on Men's Health and Men's World Health Day on 3 November 2001 will act as strong platforms to support long-term strategic and innovative research on men's health.

The future of men and their health BMJ Volume 323, pp 1013-4

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