Dr Paula Campbell
A Kildare town resident is heading Ireland's latest report on men's health with plans to roll out a 12 weeks free specialised health programme aimed at men for the county by the end of this year.
The Men on the Move programme, commissioned by the HSE, investigates how Local Sports Partnerships together with the HSE and partners can use physical activity as a hook for engaging with men about their health and wellbeing.
Kildare town resident, Dr Paula Carroll, a lecturer at the Waterford Institute of Technology, is the Senior Investigator in the project. She said:”Men are more likely to die of all the leading causes of death.”
Dr Carroll says it is concering that a lot of men lead 'sedentary' lifestyles but that more are becoming aware of minding their general health, including mental well-being.
She says that men are reluctant to go to the doctor for a check-up.
Dr Carroll said: “The first port of call should be the local GP, also pharmacists offer health checks along with community services.”
According to Dr Carroll, young men are at a high risk of road traffic accidents while particularly men in their forties are at risk of cardiovascular problems along with weight gain. There is an awareness of the need to work with men .”
Dr Carroll is part of the new initiative being piloted through various men's sheds around the country.
The free 12 weeks programme includes physical activity, including 40 minutes of cardiovascular strengthening and conditioning, dietary changes and mental well-being.
Dr Carroll said: “It’s evident that Men On the Move appealed to many men in this study and their consistent engagement yielded many significant health and social benefits. Through increasing their aerobic fitness and reducing their waste circumference in particular, cardiovascular disease risk was reduced by between 8 and 20%.”
Male obesity has more than tripled since 1990 with currently, just 30% of men in Ireland being of ‘normal’ weight. Notably, central or abdominal obesity, which is more specific to men, is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and some cancers. The Healthy Ireland Survey 2016 found that over 60% of male respondents aged 35-54 years wanted to increase their physical activity levels. Strong evidence shows that physical activity promotes health and wellbeing and offers critically important protection against many of these chronic conditions.
Sarah O’Brien, National Lead, Healthy Eating Active Living Programme, HSE, Health & Wellbeing, commenting on the significance of this study said “The HSE commissioned this evaluation to identify the evidence and best practice for the delivery of a community based health promotion programme targeting men’s health. We have been working with Sport Ireland and Waterford Institute of Technology to expand access to the Men on the Move programme on a phased basis across the network of Local Sports Partnerships. All eight local authorities who took part in the evaluation process have continued to deliver the programme with another four local authorities signing up during 2019 to participate”