Men's health study wins $450,000 Florey grant

Saturday, 18 October 2003

A collaborative research team headed by the University of Adelaide has been awarded the $450,000 Florey Research Grant to undertake a major study into the health and ageing of Australian men.

The project, which aims to study 1000 men in Adelaide's north-west suburbs, is believed to be the first of its kind in Australia to attempt to identify the wide range of factors that contribute to Australian men's health (reproductive, physical and emotional), and their relationship with the ageing process.

The grant, awarded for three years, was announced last night (Friday) at the Florey Medical Foundation's annual fundraising dinner held in Bonython Hall.

The Florey Research Grant is jointly funded by the Florey Medical Research Fund, the major fundraising arm of the University of Adelaide's Medical School, and the university's Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research). The grant is named after one of the Adelaide's greatest graduates, Lord Howard Florey, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his pioneering work in the development of penicillin for clinical use.

The grant aims to support research teams that are looking for better solutions to major health problems in South Australia, and promotes stronger partnerships between researchers in different disciplines in Adelaide.

The winning research team is headed by Associate Professor Gary Wittert from the University of Adelaide's Department of Medicine, and involves researchers from the university's Department of Public Health and the School of Molecular & Biomedical Science, as well as the Royal Adelaide Hospital, SA Department of Human Services, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Hanson Institute, CSIRO and Glenside Hospital.

"Compared with women, Australian men of all ages are less healthy and therefore do not enjoy as good a quality of life as they should," Dr Wittert says.

"All chronic conditions such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease occur more frequently in men and their life expectancy is five years less than that of women. Men are less likely to use health services, especially in relation to preventative services and early intervention, and the quality of their mental health is below that of women's. In addition, some diseases that exclusively affect men, such as prostate cancer, are insufficiently understood - screening remains controversial and there is little data regarding prevention.

"Identifying the reasons for men's poorer physical and mental health is an imperative," he says. "We hope that measures could then be developed and implemented to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, eventually prevent diseases, and guide the development of appropriate health services and policy."


Contact Details

Professor Gary Wittert
Head of Discipline of Medicine, Medical Specialties
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: 0409 411 789

Mr Robert Pontifex
Florey Medical Research Fund
Business: +61 8 8313 6386
Mobile: 0407 711 517