Men's Health Week 2011 was kicked off yesterday at Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane football ground by one of the club's most illustrious captains Gary Mabbutt MBE.
To an audience of 120 in the Bill Nicholson suite, the former England international explained the aim of the week - to get more men accessing good quality health information - and how he had set the ball rolling himself by helping his father use the internet for the first time.
Also in the starting line-up was Grant Cornwell of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, the club's charity arm and a partner for the Week, who outlined Spurs community programme particularly with men. He was joined in the strike force by Natasha Innocent of Race Online 2012 who tackled the tricky subject of how to bring the internet to the nine million people in the UK who have never been online. The event was excellently skippered by Men's Health Week patron, GP and TV presenter Dr Ayan Panja.
MHF CEO Peter Baker also had his shooting boots on as he set the goal for the Week. 'For Men’s Health Week 2011, we’re aiming to reach men in a place that they are in vast numbers – the internet,' he told the meeting. 'Over one third of men who used the internet in the last three months used it (to search for health information). And that’s what we want to build on – we want to encourage more men to use digital technologies, mainly the internet but also apps, to access health information about any kind of health issue. One of our main aims is to get the proportion of men using the internet for health information up to 50% within two years. I think that’s a very realistic objective.
Peter Baker passed on to how the internet can complement not replace traditional services. 'Online health services are easy-to-access, easier than any other service I can think of, and mostly anonymous and confidential. We’re not saying, of course, that the internet or apps should replace traditional services like the GP or the pharmacist. Men also need to use these services far more effectively than they do at present. Rather, we believe that the new technologies provide an opportunity for men to access information about lifestyle and health problems and make it more likely that they will go on to use other services, when they need to, more appropriately and in a more informed way.
'What’s also vital is that men use services that are accurate and responsible, like our own malehealth website as well as NHS Choices, NHS Direct and many others. The new Mini Manual we’ve produced his week – it’s called Health Clicks - aims to signpost men to the reputable sites and away from the dodgy sites flogging dodgy drugs or dodgy devices.'
Gary Mabbutt, an ambassador for Spurs also proved an excellent ambassador for Men's Health Week. He was an eager student at the training event organised in the club's state of the art learning zone to introduce a group of local men to health online and had his photo taken with umpteen awestruck adults who should know better - including the Forum's website editor.
Mabbutt is not only a living legend to Spurs fans, he is living proof that looking after your health does not prevent you from having the sort of life that most men can only dream of. He was diagnosed with diabetes at 17 yet went on to play professional football at the highest level for club and country for another twenty years.
Page created on June 14th, 2011
Page updated on June 16th, 2011