Men live shorter lives and are more likely to take their own than women. 17 years ago a group of friends in Australia decided to start the Movember foundation to raise money and awareness of the often overlooked health challenges, both physical and mental, faced by men.
Globally, the life expectancy of men (70.8) is 4.8 years lower than that of women (75.6), a gap that is roughly a year narrower in Switzerland (3.7). Life expectancy at birth in Switzerland is 86.0 for women and 82.4 for men.
In Switzerland, 71% of women live beyond 79 but only 53% of men do. Men are 77% more likely to die between 40 and 64 and 53% more likely to go between 65 and 79. Heart disease and cancer are the biggest killers. Men in Switzerland are 27% more likely to die from cancer.
Before 1900, there was almost no difference in longevity between men and women. Why men now live shorter lives than women is an open question. However, it seems that part of the difference is down to men not taking good care of themselves. Men are more likely to smoke, drink and be overweight or obese – in Switzerland 51% of men are overweight or obese compared to 33% of women. In addition, men tend to be less likely to visit the doctor for regular health checks or niggly health issues that might signal something bigger.
In Switzerland, men are nearly 3 times more likely to end their own lives as women, something that might reflect the pressure some men feel and the cultural challenges sometimes felt when sharing their vulnerability with their friends.
The Movember foundation, which encourages men to grow moustaches every November in return for donations, is aimed at raising money and awareness of mens health issues and to help men to understand that their mental and physical health can, like women’s, be fragile and benefit from greater attention.
Scott Poynton, a native of Melbourne, Australia, the birth place of Movember, who now lives near Nyon, plans to make his way up from his home town of Gingins to the top of the Dôle nine times this November to raise money for the charity. The nine hikes together are a total climb of around 12,000 metres. Since 2014, Poynton has raised 58,970 francs and many eyebrows with his mirthful moustaches.