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Southern men wanted to unlock health mystery

News Item

posted by Research Admin 1 on 30 January 2020

Otago University news, 28 January, 2020

Ageing Kiwi men have worse health and are dying sooner than women. Now a new University of Otago study is being launched to talk to the country’s southern men in an attempt to understand why.

The study’s principal investigator, Professor David Baxter of the University of Otago School of Physiotherapy, says men in New Zealand do not enjoy the same level of health and wellbeing as women. Women live an average 3–4 years longer than men, while men generally experience a higher incidence of and mortality from major diseases.

Yet men’s health is often ignored in health research, relative to research in women's health, Professor Baxter says.

“It’s a conundrum. In New Zealand, men have a lower life expectancy and health status than women, yet we take an ad-hoc approach to men’s health with no strategy or policies to address these health inequalities. 

“So this project aims to increase our understanding of factors associated with ageing well for men 45 years and over in Otago and Southland.”

The research project will be carried out by Hui Xiao as part of his PhD studies. Mr Xiao, who is a PhD student at the School of Physiotherapy, says participants will be placed into focus groups of between 6–10 men, meeting in in Dunedin, Invercargill and Alexandra.

From there they will spend about an hour discussing health-related questions developed by the research team.

Questions will touch on issues like diet, smoking, alcohol, exercise, and the benefits of social interactions.

“The information gained will contribute to our understanding of factors associated with ageing well for men,” Mr Xiao says.