Doctor Dave Baldwin says he has spent $100,000 of his own money getting his message of being "a healthy bastard" out to men.
He spoke to about 50 farmers at Feilding at the final Manawatu Finishing Farm seminar. Baldwin talked about staying healthy and said he was pleased to communicate with the group because it was the target audience for his message.
He said he had been a GP in Bulls for 20 years, and ran his business with his son, Marc, flying around two-thirds of the country doing aviation checkups on pilots.
"As a GP I see that 20 per cent of men don't give a shit about their health - people such as those overweight, smokers, drug-takers. Nothing has changed with that group in 20 years."
Nothing the Government or any health group had done had made any difference to that number, he said.
Farmers were the same, in that one in five didn't care about their own health, Baldwin said.
"Even though a lot of them are highly educated and hard workers, they are not listening to the good health messages. So I don't see the farmers as anything different from the general population."
Baldwin said farmers who didn't care about their health should know better.
"They're dealing with animal health and they are involved with the beautiful New Zealand outdoors. They are more in tune with their environment.
"The reason I love dealing with rural people is that I am a free spirit. We are blessed to be in a country where it is possible to fly, fish, shoot a deer. The reason I love rural people is I feel at ease - as one with them."
He said men lived four years less than women, on average.
"They have higher rates of suicide, heart disease, cancer - the lot. They are not meant to die earlier than women, but they do."
A song written by Bullfrog Rata for Baldwin's "Healthy Bastards" campaign said: "You never know how long you're here for, so live your life to the max."
That's something Baldwin feels strongly about.
He said when he grew up, men's "bits and pieces" weren't talked about and many men were still shy about it.
"But prostate cancer is the biggest killer in this country, and 3300 a year die in Australia and New Zealand. Picking up cancer early is the best way to deal with it. Ignorance is fear."
Baldwin suggested men go for checks each year once they reach 50, or from 40 years of age if there is prostate cancer in the family.
© Fairfax NZ News
SOURCE: STUFF.CO.NZ MANAWATU STANDARD