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Mens Health Week FAQ

Here are the Frequently Asked Questions prepared for the first men's health week in 2002. You might still find them useful but for more up-to-date information on subsequent weeks, click on the appropriate year on the left-hand margin.

  1. Why a men's health week?
  2. What's wrong with men's health?
  3. What will Men's Health Week achieve?
  4. What will happen in Men's Health Week?
  5. Working together for Men's Health Week
  6. Where to get help and support

Why a men's health week?

It has been a long-standing ambition of the Men's Health Forum to establish Men's Health Week (MHW) as a well-known and clearly-defined event that focuses attention on men's health issues and stimulates health promoting activities at all levels. The Forum now has an opportunity to launch MHW as a major annual and national event.

Men's health in the UK is now beginning to get the attention it deserves:

  • The minister for public health, Yvette Cooper MP, has frequently stressed the importance of tackling men's health inequalities.
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Men's Health was launched in March 2001 reflecting growing political interest in the issues.
  • There is an increasingly wide range of local and community men's health work - there are now over 100 projects suggests currently up-and-running.
  • Commercial organisations - from pharmaceutical companies to supermarkets and fashion retailers - are appreciating that promoting men's health can help them meet their social and business objectives.

A clear opportunity exists for health and other organizations - public, voluntary and private, national and local - to work together to focus attention on key men's health issues and to develop practical initiatives that can make a difference to the health of the nation's men.

The idea of an annual national Men's Health Week (MHW) was first developed in the USA where, in 1994, it was put on a statutory basis by President Clinton. The US MHW is now well-established and linked to a wide range of local and national initiatives. It is held each year during the week that ends with Fathers' Day (in mid-June).


What's wrong with men's health?

  • The average male life expectancy at birth is currently under 75 years.
  • Men who are defined as partly skilled or unskilled have a life expectancy of less than 70 years.
  • The average man can expect to be seriously or chronically ill for 15 years of his life.
  • Nearly 22,000 men in the UK are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and about 9,500 die; the number of new cases diagnosed is expected to treble over the next 20 year.
  • The incidence of testicular cancer has doubled in the past 20 years.
  • Over 4,200 men killed themselves in England and Wales in 1999; the rate among men aged 15-24 increased by 55 per cent in the period 1981-1997.
  • Depression is a widespread but under-recognised problem in men. At least one in five people men are believed to suffer clinical depression at some point in their lives.
  • Sexual problems are common amongst men: almost one-fifth of men in their 50s experience problems maintaining or achieving an erection.
  • 45 per cent of men are overweight and another 17 per cent are obese.
  • 28 per cent of men smoke. The average male smoker smokes 111 cigarettes a week.
  • 27 per cent of men drink more than the recommended limits. 36 per cent of men aged 16-24 drink excessively.
  • Men are reluctant to visit their GP, especially for a preventive health check - on average, a man aged 16-24 has a health check once every seven years while a man aged 25-39 has a check once every five years.


What will Men's Health Week achieve?

MHW will:

  • Raise the profile of men's health nationally, regionally and locally.
  • Encourage a wide range of organisations to develop practical men's health initiatives.
  • Contribute to the improved delivery of health services to men, including primary care and health promotion.
  • Increase the awareness of health professionals of men's health issues and their ability to work effectively with male patients and men generally.
  • Increase men's awareness of their own health and their treatment options.
  • Help to change men's health-related behaviour, not least in terms of increasing their willingness to access health care and reducing the risks they take with their health.
  • Promote men's awareness of wider lifestyle issues (including relationships, working life, body image and personal grooming) that can have an impact on health.


What will happen in Men's Health Week?

The Men's Health Forum will launch a national strategic plan to tackle the poor state of men's health at a major media event in London. This event, which will be attended by politicians, celebrities, representatives of key health and MHW partner organisations, is expected to generate huge interest and publicity. The launch will also provide an opportunity for partner organizations to highlight their own men's health initiatives.

Local men's health events and initiatives on a wide range of issues will also take place throughout the country. These will be organized by primary care groups/trusts, health promotion units, hospitals, local authorities, schools, colleges, voluntary groups, charities, employers, commercial organizations and many other groups and individuals. These activities will not only directly reach individual men but also generate local and regional media coverage.

In the period leading up to MHW, the Forum will provide national and local organisations with practical ideas for men's health initiatives. These will include holding men's 'MOTs' in local pubs or shopping centers, organizing radio phone-ins with local doctors, working in schools on testicular self-examination, publishing anthologies of men's experiences of health problems and launching new policy or practice initiatives. 


Working together for Men's Health Week  

The Men's Health Forum will lead, co-ordinate and provide a national focus for MHW activities. It will not seek to control and dictate those activities, however. What is important is that organizations and individuals use the opportunities presented by MHW to develop the type of initiatives that interest and enthuse them and which are relevant to their particular constituencies.

The Forum is seeking partnership support from the widest range of organizations and individuals for MHW. It is not asking partners to endorse every aspect of its national strategic plan for men's health but rather to associate themselves with the Forum's commitment to improving men's health and with MHW. The Forum also hopes that supporting organizations will wish to develop their own men's health initiatives in MHW (and beyond). 

The benefits of partnership will vary among organisations but they will include: 

  • Contributing to the improvement of the health of men, whether those men are patients, employees, customers or members of the public. 
  • Participation in the launch event and recognition for their contribution in Men's Health Forum publications and publicity associated with MHW.  
  • Recognition as a leading-edge organisation in a significant but as yet under-developed area of health.  
  • Recognition as a socially aware and responsible organisation. 
  • The Men's Health Forum welcomes the opportunity to discuss the opportunities for partnership and joint work on MHW 2002 from all interested organisations. Contact details are below. 


Sources of get help and support

Firstly, please thoroughly look through all of the links above to previous NMHW documents and the most recent resource pack (the ones for NMHW2004 and 2005 can be found in those sections).

If you can't find what you are looking for anywhere here, please feel free to get in touch with Matthew Maycock, National Men's Health Week Coordinator using the feedback box below or 08701453815

Page created on September 11th, 2003

Page updated on December 1st, 2009