Edith Cowan University(ECU) researchers are working with health organisations across the nation to address the staggering statistic that men who live in very remote areas are likely to live 17 years less than their city-dwelling counterparts.
Similarly, the average life span of men in remote areas can be four years fewer, with men in outer regional areas likely to live, on average, two years less than those in metropolitan areas.
These statistics make ECU and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia's new Men's eHealth Network crucial to helping men to understand and monitor their own health issues.
This unique, interactive website, which focuses specifically on men's health issues, has been launched to help Australian men, particularly those in remote and regional areas, find accurate lifestyle information and seek support when they need it. The Men's eHealth Network (MEHN - http://www.mehn.org.au/) hopes to shed light on the myth that Australian men are indifferent about their health and are unwilling to seek advice.
The main focus of the site is to get men to increase activity levels, enjoy healthier diets, speak out about troubling issues and consult a healthcare professional on a regular basis and especially when unwell
ECU exercise physiologist and researcher, Shane Johnstone, says the website offers a new approach in helping men access the latest information and seeks to impact on the wellbeing of those Australian men who are affected by barriers to better health, like those in rural communities.
The greatest advantages of an online resource like this is that it overcomes a number of barriers like cost, opening hours, inconvenient locations, transport, as well as men who may be embarrassed or don't like to be seen getting help. Not to forget men in rural areas whose access to a positive health influence can be limited.
With large numbers of men in Western Australia living in regional and remote areas, the program has the potential to make significant differences to life expectancy here in the west, he said.
Users can take advantage of information about health assessments, exercise, nutrition, mental wellbeing as well as resources like exercise programs, self organisation tools and the health check 'service' log book.
The program has been developed by The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and Vario Health Institute (VHI) at Edith Cowan University through funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 'Health Active Australia' Community Grant.