The lack of an evidence base for formulating men’s health policies means existing programs and practices for men are influenced by prevailing cultural norms concerning men or habitual health service attitudes towards them.
Factors impeding the development of an effective health policy for men include a preoccupation with limited clinical perspectives (an emphasis on the prostate and erectile dysfunction) and a common assumption that all health problems in men are a result of “masculinity” and “men behaving badly”.
Viewing men’s health in terms of gender and health and the socially constructed differences between men and women is important, but does not provide all the perspectives required for meeting men’s health needs.
A “social determinants of health” approach to men’s health would help Australia and Australian medical practitioners move away from policies and practices that perpetuate negative views of men and ignore the complexity of their health problems. The result would be a more evidence-based approach to men’s health policy, and the likelihood of improved health outcomes.
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