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Wednesday, 12 December, 2001, 05:32 GMT
Young men 'need better health care'
GP consultation
Many young men are reluctant to consult their GP
Young men's health needs are not being fully met by the health service, a new report suggests.

It claims they only turn to health services when "desperate" and that more attention needs to be focused on their needs when planning health care.

"Inequalities in health care can mean boys are overlooked because of their gender," said a spokeswoman for the government-funded Health Development Agency (HDA), which commissioned the report.

She said: "They have to be very bad before they go to the doctor.

"The problem is compounded because it is not cool to talk about health problems among young men like it is for women."

The report - Boys and Young Men's Health - provides a snapshot of the services available to boys and young men aged between 11 and 25 and highlights "gaps" in existing services.

Better access

The impact of male characteristics on men's health, such as a reluctance to seek help for fear of appearing weak, are rarely considered, according to the report.

It found that at a fundamental level, there was no agreed definition of what constitutes men's health, across a range of projects.

They suggest phone lines or drop-in centres should be set up to make access to services easier.

Inequalities in health care can mean boys are overlooked because of their gender

Health Development Agency spokeswoman
Projects using an activity base like football had found some success, but the report said more attention should be paid to understanding young men's behaviour and properly targeting services for them.

HDA chief executive Professor Richard Parish said: "This report reveals that while there are some successful, innovative projects addressing young men's health needs, there are still some gaps in the services available.

"It is part of the HDA's role to ensure that the examples of good practice are made available to health workers to help improve the services offered to boys and young men and so help reduce any health inequalities that exist because of their age and gender."

See also:

17 Apr 00 | Health
Young men 'failed over suicide'
02 Nov 01 | Health
Could men become extinct?
05 Jun 00 | Health
Men 'ignorant about male cancers'
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