Published on 08/21/01

Men Living Longer, Not Necessarily Healthier

Men in Georgia are living longer, but not necessarily better. Just take a look at the "2000 Report on the Status of Men's Health in Georgia: A Picture of Men's Health and Well-Being," from the Georgia Department of Human Resources. The comprehensive report details the health status of men in Georgia.

The report shows that overall life expectancy increased during the past century from 48 years in 1900 to 74 years in 1997. But some serious health issues remain that affect the well-being of men in Georgia. Those health concerns vary, depending on a man's age.

Major Causes of Death

Among adolescent males and young men, motor vehicle injuries, homicides, suicides and infectious diseases, like tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus, are the major causes of death and disability.

For older men, the main causes of injury and death are chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and arthritis, as well as infectious diseases such as pneumonia and flu and accidental injuries.

Here are just a few of the disturbing statistics:

  • Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death among men in Georgia, accounting for 34 percent of all male deaths. In 1997, hospital charges related to CVD were $1.8 billion. Unfortunately, the risk of dying from CVD is 25 percent higher for African American males than white males.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Georgia's men. The five leading causes of cancer death are lung, prostate, colorectal, pancreatic and leukemia. Lung and prostate cancer death rates in Georgia are both 19 percent higher than the national average. The colorectal cancer rate, though, is 12 percent lower.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death among Georgia men. It also contributes to deaths from other causes like CVD and kidney failure. For every death in which diabetes is the primary cause, there are two and a half deaths in which diabetes is a contributing factor.
  • Even though only half of the drivers' licenses in Georgia are issued to males, men are involved in nearly 60 percent of all motor vehicle accidents and 72 percent of all fatal crashes. Of the men who died in these accidents, 62 percent were between the ages of 15 and 44, and 70 percent were white. Fortunately, the rate of seat belt use is increasing in males. But it is still lower than in females.
  • Related to these disturbing motor vehicle statistics is the alarming incidence of binge drinking in young men. Almost 37 percent of young men ages 18-24 report that they binge drink.
  • While more young white males commit suicide, more African American males are likely to be homicide victims.
  • The percentage of men who are overweight or obese increased from 47 percent in 1984 to 62 percent in 1998. More than half of Georgia's males are inactive.
Clearly, some serious public health issues affect men in Georgia. This report not only details these disturbing facts. It also offers solutions to the problems that individuals and the community can try to reduce risk and improve health outcomes.

A Valuable Tool

The report is a valuable tool for health and government officials, voluntary organizations and the public to use to focus on male health issues in the community.

To read more about the "2000 Report on the Status of Men's Health in Georgia" visit the Web site of the Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health.