A study on Estonian males conducted by the Centre for Applied Research at the University of Tartu has found some surprising and not as surprising conclusions.
The average male settles on a stable partner at around age 34 and generally wants a family with many children. But overweight, risk behavior, a tendency to use substances and health problems all take their toll, said the study authors.
Over 2,000 men aged 16-54 took part in the survey. The findings showed that men value stable relationships. "Love, the partner's personality and good sexual compatibility, intelligence and common values are valued qualities," said one of the researchers, Mare Ainsaar, a senior research fellow in sociology and social policy. "The partner's potential performance as a parent is important as well."
Men generally look forward to having children, and they themselves consider 26-27 the best age for their firstborn. Ideally they want two or more children. The biggest concerns are job security, financial situation and lack of a suitable partner.
In the last year, 77 percent of men in the age group of 15-54 had seen or consulted a doctor in the past year. The biggest health problem is overweight - over half are obese or overweight.
"Twenty-one percent of Estonian males have depression related symptoms, like anxiety, dysphoria, restlessness, lack of happiness - to an extent considered harmful to the health," said Ainsaar.
At least one in four men use alcohol two or more times a week and one-third are daily smokers.
High-risk sexual behavior is seen: one in three men have had casual partners in the last year, and only one-half used a condom in such encounters.
Loone Ots, rapporteur of the Sustainable Development Committee, which commissioned the research, said men's problems directly undermine possibilities for raising the birth rate "The state can help by increasing availability of medical care and calling men to medical checkups meant specially for them Substance prevention must become more effective. And health education must improve in high schools and higher education."
Editor: K. Rikken