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Fathers Living Longer

This week Dads4Kids launches its annual end of financial year ‘Help the Children’ Appeal.

One great reason to give to the ‘Help the Children’ Appeal is because Dads4Kids is helping dads live longer than in years gone by.

Last year, on 6 November 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released an important news item:

“Aussie males born from now on could plan on receiving a ‘Happy 80th Birthday’ card, as the latest figures from the ABS show that male life expectancy at birth has topped 80 years.

“We’re now among a very rare group of countries,” said Director of Demography, Denise Carlton, “the others being Switzerland, Japan and Iceland – where both men and women have a life expectancy of over 80 years.”

“Australian women pushed past the 80 year mark back in 1990, so it’s taken men nearly a quarter century to catch up.

“But having crossed the elusive 80 year threshold in the 1990s, improvements in expected lifespan for women has since slowed down, increasing by around four years over the period – it’s 84.3 now.

“It’s worth considering that 80 years is an expectation from birth, and statistically, the older you get, the more likely it is that you’ll live to an even older age.

“So a man who is now 50 could expect to live to 82, a 65 year old to 84, and man who is 85 this year could look forward to a 91st birthday”.

Male life expectancy rose to 80.1 in 2013 from 79.9 in 2012, while female life expectancy at birth remained steady at 84.3 years.”

The good news is that Dads4Kids has played an important role in seeing this news item come to pass.

“Tell me more”, you say. I thought you would never ask.

When Dads4Kids first started in 2002 we were shocked to find that men and fathers were not included in government policy, and in some cases were marginalised in government policy. This was particularly true in areas such as Family Law, where unfortunately, in many cases, men as fathers were (and still are) regarded as second class citizens. Women have had a national health policy since 1988 but from a government point of view, men did not exist when it came to their health.

However, there has been a huge shift in the area of advancing men’s health in that time. Dads4Kids drew the attention of the government of the day to the plight of men’s health for the first time in 2003 with the release of The 12 Pt Plan (found in the Fathers in Families document). The last two points of this plan addressed the need for pro-active policies by government to address men’s health.

Fathers’ Health and Well-Being – Section 3 of The 12pt Plan

  • 11. Being male is associated with a number of health disadvantages. For males, this results in higher rates of:
    1. Hospital admissions for most injuries and illnesses
    2. Premature death by unnatural causes such as suicides and accidents
    3. Undiagnosed mental illnesses
    4. Suicide
    5. Alcohol and drug abuse
    6. Addictive anti-social behaviours
    7. Addictive gambling problems

The National Fathering Forum (organised by Dads4Kids) seeks to promote fathers’ health and well-being and to reduce the health disadvantage of being male. This needs the assistance of the Government through increased government-funded initiatives.

  • 12. The National Fathering Forum emphasised that a large number of deaths, injuries and illnesses that men experience are preventable. In addition, the health and well-being disadvantages of men and fathers are closely associated with social and economic disadvantage such as unemployment. Men of Aboriginal and Torres Strait descent are particularly vulnerable to these health disadvantages. These issues require an urgent response from both the government and non-government sectors.

The National Fathering Forum supports the national strategies for the prevention of: suicide, accidents, substance misuse and gambling addictions. We urge that these strategies be implemented with greater emphasis to the unique needs of men and fathers.

Dads4Kids kept knocking on the door of Federal Parliament. Over the next five years, through various forums and events, reminding both the Labor and Liberal/National parties about the need for a national Men’s Health Policy.

Finally because of the Dads4Kids Men & Fathers Family Friendly Policy Forum, held at Parliament House, Canberra on 20 June 2007, the Labor Party took a national Men’s Health Policy to the Australian Federal Election, 24 November 2007 and won by a landslide. Who said that the men’s vote doesn’t count? Professor John McDonald said to both sides of politics on the day, “It is a national shame that we have a national Women’s Health Policy but not a national Men’s Health Policy.” Thankfully two Labor parliamentarians took action, Roger Price MP and Anthony Byrne MP and the rest is now history.

The Dads4Kids Men and Fathers Family Friendly Policy Forum drew together 33 leaders from the family friendly men’s movement who were willing to put the needs of children first. The Labor Party realised that men as fathers and grandfathers living longer was a good idea for their children.

The recent announcement from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the progress in men living longer and on average celebrating their 80th Birthdays with their children and grandchildren is a credit to all those who have worked hard to improve men’s health.

It is also a credit to all those who support the work of Dads4Kids.

The team at Dads4Kids would like to honour all those men and women who have been advocating for a national Men’s Health Policy for almost two decades. It was a team effort, but as in all sports games, someone has to put the ball over the line. Thanks for your help to do so. Without your financial assistance Australia would not have a national Men’s Health Policy. Many children are happier because of you.

By making a donation to Dads4Kids you are making a difference.

Lovework

Two pieces of lovework this week:

1. Make sure you get your yearly health check-up. Mens Health Week 15 -21 June is only a week away. The longer you stay on the planet the happier your children will be. Your health matters, especially to your wife and children. So eat well, exercise well, rest well and live longer. Dr John Tickell calls it the ACED program:
ACTIVITY skills
COPING skills and
EATING TO LIVE LONGER skills
DOCTOR once a year for checkup

2. Dads4Kids needs to raise $75,000 by 30 June 2015 to meet budget.
Maybe you would like to help by providing some matching funds to get the ball rolling?

Drop us a quick email if you would like to help at info@dads4kids.org.au

Maybe you would like to create a fundraising event to help Dads4Kids meet budget. Can you help?
Together we can make a difference.

Yours for our children
Warwick Marsh

PS To make a Tax Deductible donation click here.

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