There is escalating consideration for the role that gender inequalities play in the health status of men, and the extent to which this problem impacts on mortality and morbidity. A stark rise in unhealthy behaviours and reduced uptake of health care services has put men at risk for a number of disease conditions, including CVD, Diabetes, some Cancers and poor Mental Health (White & Holmes, 2006). Risk factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity and poor diet are thought to be the main protagonists and individuals displaying more than one of these risk factors have a heightened likelihood of developing chronic health conditions. Therefore, encouraging men to adopt health promotion interventions that impact these risk factors is paramount. Professional soccer clubs provide a captive audience to reach this group.
PURPOSE: A national programme of men's health promotion delivered through 16 professional soccer clubs aimed to identify the numbers of men with multiple risk factors for CVD and their use health care services.
METHODS: A programme of health promotion interventions were targeted at men in local communities and delivered at soccer stadia, club training venues and community facilities. Sessions were run by health trainers who received specific training on men's health and behavioural change activities. After obtaining ethical clearance and consent, participants completed validated, population-specific, self-report measures for demographics and lifestyle behaviours and use of primary health care services. Measurement occurred pre-intervention by health trainers and data was independently analyzed by researchers and used to assess the number of men presenting multiple risk factors for CVD.
RESULTS: A total of n=520 participants engaged the evaluation. Participants presenting data for multiple risk factors for CVD (n=170) indicated an elevated risk, approximately 90% (n=153) reported having more than one risk factor, with fewer than 9% of men (n=15) visiting their GP on a regular basis (n=171).
CONCLUSION: A national programme of men's health interventions in soccer clubs was adopted by men displaying multiple risk factors for CVD that failed to utilise primary health care services.