My role


The editors who are making men sick

Did you see the excellent article in the press about men's health this morning?

No, of course, you didn't. Not unless you're a reader of Press Gazette, a magazine with a circulation of 5,010 mostly read by journalists.

It's ironic really because under the headline 'In A Bad Way', David Brill, who is Assistant Editor of Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine, argues that while the national newspapers are full of so-called health coverage, men are being very poorly served.

He took a yearly snapshot of the health pages of the Daily Mail. For the period mid June to mid July from 2001-2006, some 900 health articles were published: 34% were specifically about women's health, just 8% about men's. Moreover, on average, the men's' articles on the rare occasions they appeared were three pages further back in the newspaper.

Even the paper's men's health special in 2002 was actually targeted at women — under headlines like 15 health questions that every woman should ask' — rather than men themselves.

The MHF's monitoring of the media suggest that the Mail very far from the only offender or, indeed, the worst. Nigel Duncan, the MHF's press officer says: 'David Brill offered his article and his research to a number of national newspapers and they all turned it down which rather proves the point he is making. It's to Press Gazette's credit that they understood the issue enough to publish it. Let's hope that the journalists who read it will take the hint and put some pressure on their editors.'

The point is that the media are missing a trick. As MHF CEO Peter Baker says in David Brill's article: 'men's health coverage probably peaked about 10 years ago with the arrival of Viagra.'

Editors appear to think the issue is not new and not sexy. Perhaps not but the evidence is that done properly it would sell papers. 'Men just don't like asking for help about anything or to be seen to not know the answer,' Baker tells Brill. 'And that includes health. Men are much more interested (in health) than we would imagine but are just more private about it.'

In other words they might not talk about it but they do want to read about it. At the MHF we know this is so — we only have to look at the ever-increasing number of hits to our malehealth website.

Page created on August 6th, 2007

Page updated on December 1st, 2009