Physical activity can improve all aspects of health, from relieving stress and anxiety to losing weight, reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and improving sexual performance. If it came in the form of a pill, we'd all be asking for it. Yet too many men are now physically inactive.
The government hopes to get two million more people active by 2012. Sport England wants to get one million adults taking part in more sport by 2012/13.
Men's Health Week 2010, which takes place during the early stages of the World Cup in South Africa, will make a major contribution to this campaign to get the nation more active and more healthy. It will get men up off the sofa and walking, jogging, gardening, swimming, playing sport... in short, moving more. We will harness the power and resources of professional sport to reach more men with new health services and campaigns.
The Week has three main objectives:
Men attend sports events in very large numbers. About 13.5 million people, overwhelmingly male, attend Premier League games in England each season. 1.5 million people attend Premier Rugby (union) and a 1.7 million attend Super Rugby (league) matches. In 2008, county cricket attracted an all-time high total attendance of 1.5 million spectators.
These regular and large predominantly male audiences create a major opportunity to deliver health services and health promotion campaigns.
Major sporting events also create an enormous opportunity to engage more men in physical activity. The 2010 FIFA World Cup takes place in South Africa but will generate enormous interest among men in the UK. The Group matches take place between 11-25th June, overlapping with NMHW.
Other significant forthcoming events in the UK include the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, the Ryder Cup (2010), the Commonwealth Games (2014) and the cricket World Cup (2019).
LeedsMet University and the Leeds Men's Health Network have demonstrated how male interest in sport can be used at rugby matches at Headingley Carnegie Stadium. Male fans have been offered fresh fruit, general health information and 'MOT' health checks covering cholesterol, blood pressure and weight.
In football too, through Premier League Health, 16 clubs are working with local health agencies including Primary Care Trusts to develop projects that will use the football 'brand' to engage over 4,000 men. The initiative aims to tackle issues as diverse as depression, obesity and general poor physical health, as well as alcohol and substance abuse. Men will be encouraged to play more sport, with some being trained to become football coaches themselves. The projects will also point the men who take part in the direction of other agencies that might be able to help improve their health.
During NMHW 2010, the MHF will:
The Week will be followed by an expert symposium on men, physical activity and sport which will aim to develop further policy and practice in this area.
Page created on August 19th, 2009
Page updated on June 10th, 2010