Men urged to change the script when it comes to their health

Categories: Community Engagement.

Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, put former international rugby player Tony Ward through a health check to mark the week and is calling on males across the country to make simple steps to benefit their health and wellbeing.

Statistics show that men in Ireland die, on average, almost four and a half years younger than women do. The reluctance of men to present themselves to health services when they are unwell also leads to a large number of problems becoming untreatable.

To celebrate Men’s Health Week the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland has printed a new, free, 32-page ‘Man Manual’ entitled Challenges and Choices. This booklet poses a series of simple, practical challenges to Irish men in an effort to radically improve their health.

The health messages are presented in a humorous, straightforward, step-by-step, and commonsense way, and include information on alcohol consumption, diet, sexually transmitted infections, blood pressure, stress, smoking and back pain.

There has been a huge demand for the manual from men across Ireland and, since its release three weeks ago, almost all of the 10,000 copies available have been snapped-up.

Minister Varadkar said, “Men’s health in Ireland isn’t always the best. My Department’s Healthy Ireland initiative is doing a lot of work to raise awareness in this area, but there’s a long way to go. That’s why this Men’s Health Week is such a great idea. It shows that men can make significant improvements to their health by taking a few simple steps, and receiving encouragement and opportunities to succeed. The advice is jargon-free, and offers lots of support. I’m delighted that the HSE is supporting this initiative.”

Cate Hartigan, Head of Health Promotion and Improvement in the HSE, said, “Interest in men’s health is certainly increasing, and not only amongst policy makers and service providers. Men, themselves, are rising to the challenge, and seeking information to help them to make positive choices. The HSE is delighted to assist the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland to support this movement and to make Men’s Health Week 2015 the time to create a new culture in Ireland.”

In relation to his role in Men’s Health Week 2015, sporting hero Tony Ward who battled prostate cancer, said, “Men’s Health Week gives everyone an opportunity to do something positive and practical to improve the health of men and boys in Ireland. I know, from personal experience, that men certainly need to pay more attention to their health and to act quickly when they suspect something may be wrong. However, we live in a culture which expects men to keep their chin up and to soldier on through difficult times. This needs to change. It’s definitely time for a new script.” 

For more infomation on Men’s Health week see

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