Friday 27 April 2012
The Premier League is playing a key role in promoting better men's health across the European Union, with the Premier League Health initiative being seen as a model for others to follow.
A delegation has returned from Brussels where Professor Alan White of Leeds Metropolitan University was presenting a report into the State of Men’s Health in Europe.
And after presenting their findings on Thursday, Professor White said there was a problem in getting men to adopt healthier lifestyles.
His research shows that during a 12-month period across the 27 member states of the European Union there were more than twice as many men dying between the ages of 15 and 64 than women.
Lifestyle factors play a key role and Professor White said that schemes such as Premier League Health - which works with clubs to raise awareness of men’s health issues and encourage more activity and healthier diets - were effective.
"Premier League Health is one of the first and biggest schemes to try to improve men's heatlh"
- Professor Alan White
"The early findings are that sport can be an effective way to help promote mens’ health," he said.
"The State of Men's Health in Europe report showed we need to be better at reaching out to men across Europe," he said.
"Many preventable deaths are a results of men not being aware of the consequences of their behaviour and also because not many services are available to those men.
"And that’s where the Premier League comes in.
"Premier League Health is one of the first and biggest schemes and the preliminary findings are that it's successful in reaching out and bringing health benefits to men."
Simon Morgan, the Premier League's Head of Community Development, said Premier League Health had engaged more than 7,000 men of all ages - and brought positive changes in a variety of ways.
"We've been working with Leeds Metropolitan University and Professor Alan White and we know we have got to get more men to engage with physical activity and to engage with healthcare services.
"Men tend to not engage with their GPs - which has long-term effects.
"The Premier League is leading the way in using football and sport for social benefit"
- Simon Morgan
"Among the men we have worked with, we have seen alcohol consumption decrease, and many have adopted a better diet. And there are fewer cardiovascular risk factors.
"Our findings are that 68% have increased physical activity, 67% reduced alcohol intake, 64% increased fruit and vegetable consumption - and 19% displayed reduction in three or more cardiovascular risk factors."
Mr Morgan said improving men's health had a longer term benefit for social and economic wellbeing.
"Premier League Health is a programme with proven results," he said.
"The Premier League is leading the way in using football and sport for social benefit and is providing a best practice example of how the European Commission - or our own government - can make a difference to men's health."
Humber MEP Linda McAvan said: "Improving men's health will not just be good for the individuals themselves but their families, partners and friends will also benefit.
"When you consider the amount of strain healthcare systems across Europe are under, it is vital we find ways to improve men's health so these preventable diseases and early deaths can be avoided.
"The Premier League Health initiative is just one new way we can get the message to men that a bit of exercise, a better diet or fewer drinks and cigarettes can make a massive difference to their health."