Background: In the past men have declined to follow health authority recommendations to go to their general practitioner for preventive health checks. The BEACH report on male consultations in general practice in Australia 1999-2000 reveals low GP utilisation by men, high smoking rates and high at risk alcohol consumption. Although attendance rates increase in men over 45 years of age, problems managed at that stage are frequently chronic in nature, and rates of obesity are high.
Objective: This article discusses men's health needs and approaches to preventive health in men, drawing from the experience of nine Victorian projects on Rural Men's Health Promotion.
Discussion: At different times in their lives men have differing health experiences and needs, and different degrees of interest in improving their health. Strategies are required at a community level to educate and encourage men to attend GPs and engage in health prevention. At a practice level we need to be employing strategies to encourage men to attend, including appropriate appointment times and going to where men are in workplaces and sporting clubs. Within the consultation when men do present, we need to address the presenting problem but also encourage further health discussion relating to risk factors, and improving resilience.