Study: Men Expected to Die 5 Years Earlier Than Women

Men have a life expectancy five years shorter than women, a higher risk of cancer, injury, smoking, illicit drug use and obesity but are less likely to see a doctor, according to a new Australian study released Tuesday.

More than 68 percent of men are overweight or obese, 48 percent have a mental health condition, only five percent eat enough fruit and vegetables and 16 percent did not visit a doctor last year, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found.

The report was launched Tuesday as a key part of the Federal government's National Male Health Policy, which aims to get men looking after their health and wellbeing.

The AIHW report says a range of biological, psychological and structural reasons have been put forward to account for men's reluctance to use health services.

These include the fact many services are not open outside working hours, embarrassment about discussing emotional or sexual health issues with a female doctor, and discomfort about discussing the reason for a doctor's visit in the waiting room.

The traditional view of masculinity encourages men to be self-reliant, suppress emotion and persevere with pain, and this discourages them from seeking medical help, the report said.