Your health, your wellbeing, your environment – International Men’s Health Week
With around 69% of Telstra’s workforce and 75% of my household being male it is any wonder I have vested interest in men’s health.
This year’s theme for Men’s Health Week 2012 is around environMENts in which we interact and impact on men’s health and wellbeing.
This got me thinking about a recent discussion with my six year old son, who was querying why he always has to walk to school while “ ..all the other kids get to drive every day..” (said with a distinct whingey whiny tone’, my reasoning that we only live a couple of blocks was met with a quick witted “… well can we move house then?”
From this comment it became clear to me that if we are to have any impact on health outcomes in Australia, we need to start the dialogue and positive ‘healthy’ interaction with our environments at an early age and follow this through into working life.
So why all the hype about Men’s Health? Well fella’s the statistics are not all stacked in your favour; according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics men die on average 4.5 years earlier than women reaching the age of 79.2 compared with 83.7. Sadly many of the leading causes of death, in particular, heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer and suicide are preventable with the right level of health checks and support.
The workplace an important environment for health and wellbeing
It has been well documented that ‘work is good for us’ which is good news considering we spend on average some 35 – 40 hours a week at work. Dame Carol Black1 , UK National Director for Health and Work, points out that the benefits of work have been cited for hundreds of years, so it is little wonder that the workplace has been identified as an important environment or setting for health and wellbeing.
Aligned to the leading health risks in Australia, Telstra’s health and wellbeing strategy has a strong focus on mental health and heart health, we have a wide range of employee health and wellbeing initiatives which include; discounted gym memberships, mental health awareness campaigns, access to resources such as free counselling 24/7 for employees and family, heart health programs and activities as well as a recent ‘body tune up program’ aimed at our predominantly male field workforce.
Our partnership with Beyond Blue provides a link to supporting the community in critical areas of men’s health.
I’d encourage all workplaces out there to explore the opportunities and benefits of creating a healthy and supportive work environment. Let’s face it, it makes good business sense, supports our people and builds a healthier community.
Finally my family hasn’t moved and we still make the kids walk to school, go camping, build bush cubby houses, walk up hills and yes the whinging still continues….. but I’m hoping that the environMENts of today may encourage my boys to adopt or opt for healthy environments of tomorrow.
Get involved in Men’s health week JUNE 11-17: YOUR HEALTH – YOUR WELLBEING – YOUR ENVIRONMENT!