Targeting men with simple health information while they are at work could persuade them to change their lifestyle according to new research from the MHF.
Commissioned by the Forum and carried out by the Institute of Health and Community Studies at Bournemouth University, the study looked at how men dealt with the everyday problem of indigestion.
The majority of men sampled for the study said that when they suffered with indigestion they used over-the-counter medications and did not consider changing their lifestyle. The majority stated that they only sometimes followed a healthy diet, and a third were worried about being overweight. Ten per cent suffered from indigestion most days.
But after posters and health advice stalls were provided in the workplace and after being sent a leaflet about lifestyle specifically designed for men, a significant proportion of men (21%) changed their health behaviour and, for most, this change continued over six months.
The results showed that the men's awareness of the causes of indigestion was significantly increased through reading the leaflet, particularly relating to eating fatty foods, eating late at night, being overweight and smoking.
The study was based in the workplace becuase of the view that men are less likely than women to access traditional health services, especially GP surgeries. The majority of the men sampled in the study said that health issues should be discussed at work, and that issues such as shift work and quality of food available at work and the potential impact on health and well being needed consideration.
Peter Baker, Director of the Men's Health Forum, said: 'Another key finding from this study is that pharmacists have the potential to offer health and lifestyle advice to men when they are seeking over-the-counter remedies for indigestion. To do this, it may be necessary to raise actively the profile of the pharmacist as someone who can be asked about health issues and lifestyle change and ensure that pharmacists have the necessary training to respond specifically to men.
'We are also encouraged that men appear to be positive about work-based health and lifestyle initiatives and I hope that further research will be carried out into this approach.'
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