Dads Living Longer

6 June 2020

4.8 MINS

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 1 November 2019, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released an important news item. The ABS reported:

“Life expectancy at birth is greater for Australian females than males, however male life expectancy is improving at a faster rate than that of females. In 2016-18, life expectancy at birth for females was 4.2 years more than males: 84.9 years for females and 80.7 years for males. Around 40 years ago (1976), life expectancy for females was 76.4 years compared with 69.4 years for males: a gap of 7.0 years…

In 2015-17, life expectancy at birth for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was higher for females (75.6 years) than males (71.6 years). It has increased slightly more for males than females since 2005-07: 73.1 years for females and 67.5 years for males.”

Glenn the Census Expert had this to say about these new statistics.

“Recently the ABS released a brand new set of Life Tables, covering the 2016-2018 period. This may sound like some dull statistical publication, only of interest to boffins (and I do count myself as one). But this may be the most important thing you ever read. It does nothing short of telling you how long you have left to live! …

The key number that is always quoted in this area is “Life expectancy”. What is often not mentioned is that it’s “Life expectancy AT BIRTH“. For the 2016-18 3-year average, this was 80.7 years for males, and 84.9 years for females.

Looking back at my previous blog, which was based on 2010-2012 figures, these were 79.9 years for males, and 84.3 years for females.”

This is an incredible statistic! If we are talking about progress and improvement of the human condition, life expectancy is surely one of the key attributes. Australia ranks #3 in the world for male life expectancy and #7 in the world for female life expectancy. And life expectancy in the past 6 years has increased by 0.8 years for males and 0.6 years for females.”

Dads4Kids has played an important role in seeing these great improvements in men’s longevity 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 regarded as second-class citizens. Sadly, the inequity still survives!

Women have had a national health policy since 1988, but from a government point of view on health, men did not exist. There was no official policy for men’s health.

However, there has been a huge shift in the area of advancing men’s health since then. 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:

  • Hospital admissions for most injuries and illnesses
  • Premature death by unnatural causes such as suicides and accidents
  • Undiagnosed mental illnesses
  • Suicide
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Addictive anti-social behaviours
  • 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 on 24 November 2007, and won by a landslide. Who said that the men’s vote does not 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.

Please note this article is an update of a previous report on men’s health. The good news is the improvement in men’s health is just getting better year by year!

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. Dads4Kids had that honour!

Thanks for your help to do so. Without your support and financial assistance, Australia would not have a national Men’s Health Policy. Many children are happier because of you.

By donating to Dads4Kids, you are making a difference.


Two pieces of lovework this week:

1. Make sure you get your yearly health check-up. 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:

COPING skills
DOCTOR once a year for checkup


2. Dads4Kids needs to raise $200,000 by 30 June 2020 to meet our 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.

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

Yours for our children,
Warwick Marsh

To make a Tax-Deductible Donation, CLICK HERE.

[Photo by Nate Johnston on Unsplash]

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