Male Health News March 2015

Get moving to improve your health, says Select Committee

This week the Health Select Committee in Parliament urged the next government to prioritise promotion of healthy living, including regular exercise.

The Health Select Committee, which scrutinises the work of the Department of Health (and by extension the NHS) has released a comprehensive report.  The Committee report calls on the next government to prioritise health promotion, disease prevention and exercise.  This follows an extensive inquiry into the impact of physical activity and diet on health in England, which found that there is “compelling evidence that physical activity…has huge health benefits totally independent of a person’s weight.”  The key message for individuals was to “just do more” exercise, “in a way that fits with your lifestyle”.

Undertaking regular physical activity is vital for men’s health and yet one-third of men do not do enough exercise.  Exercise also has benefits far beyond weight control; regular physical activity helps boost your immune system, and decreases your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and many other serious conditions.  If you’re looking for inspiration on how to fit exercise into your lifestyle, why not check out these links from Greatist, Exercise Life magazine, or NHS Choices?

(27th March 2015)


Poor diet “leading factor” in premature death in UK

A leading academic has outlined that poor diet is potentially the biggest risk factor for premature death in the UK, accounting for 12.5% of the total burden of disease.

In a presentation at the Oxford London Lecture on 17th March, Professor Susan Jebb from Oxford University described that poor diet in the UK contributes to a range of health problems, most significantly diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Poor diet or overeating is also a key factor in two-thirds of adults becoming overweight or obese.  It is estimated that around 33,000 premature deaths could be avoided each year through healthier eating habits.

This lecture has prompted much debate around the extent to which people make conscious choices about their diet, and how much this is influenced by our environment.  If you’re interested in finding out more, see the BBC discussion and the original lecture.

Men are more likely to be overweight than women in the UK, and so together we need to safeguard our health through diet, amongst other factors.  There are lots of ways you can take positive steps to eat better consistently.  For inspiration, have a look at NHS Choices on Food and Diet, or check out sites like Eating Well and BBC Good Food.  If you’re a smartphone user, there are also many fitness and diet apps (for examples, see here) that can help you set goals and track your progress over time.

(19th March 2015)


Want children?  Get slimming!

A new study suggests that obese men are more likely to be able to father children if they slim down.

A paper presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society by Dr Jean-Patrice Baillargeon suggests that obese men’s chances of fathering children will be improved if they lose weight.  The Canadian study was undertaken by a team at the University of Sherbrooke, and followed 65 couples who had been referred to a fertility clinic.  For a year, the men were engaged in weekly sessions to improve their physical activity and nutrition.  The men who lost the most weight were those who successfully conceived with their partners.

According to the BBC, Dr Baillargeon stated he believes that obesity can negatively affect both sperm counts and the quality of sperm produced.  While the findings are preliminary, this is the first study offering evidence that men’s weight can impact on their fertility.  This follows previous research linking obesity in women to reduced chances of conception.

Keeping a healthy weight can have a range of benefits for men.  If you would like help or advice on how to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, there are a number of useful resources out there.  For example, the Men’s Health Forum has produced a guide ‘Eat. Drink. Don’t Diet’, which can be accessed via their website.

(13th March 2015)


Alcohol consumption still too high for many men

A new study released today shows that average alcohol consumption decreases with age, but frequent drinking is more common amongst men in middle to old age.

Published in BMC Medicine, the University College London study was undertaken by researchers across the UK, looking at a sample of almost 60,000 people from 1973 to 2013.  For men, there is good and bad news in the study.  On the plus side, on average men are drinking less as they age, which suggests that this will reduce their alcohol-related health risks.  The study showed that drinking alcohol tends to peak at around 25 years of age, declines and levels off during mid-life, and then drops to its lowest level from 60 years onwards.

However, men are still drinking considerably more than women.  The study also showed that frequent drinking (daily or most days of the week) became more common during mid to older age, most notably among men, reaching above 50% of men.  Regular and unsafe levels of alcohol consumption can contribute to a range of health conditions, including liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.

The study underlines the fact that men need to watch their alcohol consumption at all ages.  For support on how to control your alcohol intake, charities like Alcohol Concern, Addaction  or organisations like NHS Choices offer a range of information and services.

(6th March 2015)