Mo-vember is a two way street

Movember Foundation is a charity that aims to raise awareness and resources to promote mens health. It all started in 1999 in my home town of Adelaide, South Australia. A group of 80 Adelaidean men started growing their moustache in November to support several male friends who had experienced cardiac events. Movember is now a global phenomenon that has raised over $100 million for men’s health. I’m signed up and I’m raising money by growing my Mo – an Australian and New Zealand colloquialism for moustache. However, the purpose of this article is to draw attention to another issue – than men engage in more high risk activities which make them (ummm….us) a public health problem.


It has been postulated that men may be less adaptive physiologically and emotionally to stressful life events and this may contribute to the doubled risk of heart attack. But cardiac health is not the only matter that places men at higher risk. Our own research has shown that:

  1. When periapical tooth abscess leads to infectious complications in patients having open heart surgery….73.8% of such patients are male.
  2. When patients have to be hospitalized due to tuberculosis – a condition that is relatively rare in the US……64% of patients are male.
  3. When periodontal disease worsens outcomes of stem cell transplant in hospitalized patients…..63.9% of patients are male.
  4. When people are hospitalized due to mouth cellulitis…..55.8% are males.
  5. When periodontal disease causes complications among patients undergoing heart valve surgery…..62.9% are males.
  6. When adolescents have to go the emergency room due to a sports injury…..76.8% are male.
  7. When children and adolescents have to go to the emergency room due to a facial fracture…..74.7% are male.
  8. When firearm injuries result in facial and intracranial injuries……89% are male.
  9. When firearm injuries result in injury to a child….89.2% are male.
  10. When facial fracture reduction is necessary in US hospitals…….80% are male.

*all of these are preventable!

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Source: and

Broader research has shown that men engage in more high risk activities but it is still not understood why. There is some evidence that all risk activities link back to men trying to raise their attractiveness to potential sexual partners. Another theory is that women just have better risk perception as an evolutionary consequence of learning to protect their offspring. Whatever the etiology, it is important that more men die from injury and violence than women:

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Focusing on men’s health in November is a great public health campaign, but, it cannot be done in isolation – there is a lot that men can do to reduce their own risk of certain conditions. Therefore, Mo-vember is a two way street – we must raise awareness and resources to understand men’s health but men must reduce their own risk with prudent decision making.