Issued by Ulster Cancer Foundation
Men’s health was put under the microscope at a recent conference at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast which was attended by around 130 delegates.
‘Weigh to men’s health’ was hosted by the all-island Obesity Action Forum, supported by safefood and the Ulster Cancer Foundation (UCF).
The keynote speakers included Dr Marian Faughnan, a nutritionist with safefood, Roisin Foster, UCF’s Chief Executive, Professor Hugh McKenna, from the University of Ulster, and Dr Tracy Owen, Public Health Agency.
The conference focused on men’s health, stressing that excess weight is a men’s health issue that needs to be recognised by men and health practitioners.
The event also showcased UCF’s Man Alive project, the Man Van, a unique mobile unit which is bringing life saving messages and health checks to men in rural areas of Northern Ireland. Delegates were invited to tour the van which provides men with blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose tests, and advice on healthier lifestyle choices and preventable health problems.
Dr Tracy Owen, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Public Health Agency, said: “Obesity is a complex problem which requires a wide ranging and coordinated response. Different groups of the population will respond to different approaches, so what works for women may not work for men. The challenge is to find innovative and creative ways that will support people to make real changes in their behaviour in relation to food and physical activity”.
Dr Marian Faughnan, from safefood, said: “This workshop highlighted the serious issue that is overweight and obesity in men's health - men are more likely to carry excess weight and suffer from health related conditions than women. Men are also less likely to seek health professional help or weight loss services. This event provided a valuable opportunity to discuss best practice in how to target health messages at men and showcased examples of relevant projects on the island of Ireland and further afield.”
Roisin Foster, from UCF, said: “Men’s health is an issue very close to our hearts. Being overweight or obese can increase the likelihood of developing a number of cancers – but keeping active and healthy can help reduce your risk.
“As two-thirds of cancers may be preventable through simple lifestyle changes, it is vital that we all make physical activity and healthy eating a part of everyday life. This could make a real difference in reducing our weight and our risk of cancer.”
Delegates at the conference included health promoters, community groups, voluntary organisations, local authority representatives, government departments and agencies, researchers and academics.
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