Football stadium hosts men's health charity launch

West Ham's ground Upton Park was the venue for the launch of a charity's initiative to use sports stadiums to encourage men to be fitter.

Dr Banks (fourth from the right) at the launch of the Men's Health Forum

Charity the Men's Health Forum shone a light on the Hearty Lives Newham men's health project, which targets local 18-45-year-old men to take part in an eight-week programme of physical activity sessions coupled with healthy living workshops.

Hearty Lives is a joint programme between NHS Newham, Newham Council and the British Heart Foundation and is delivered by West Ham health trainers.

The Men's Health Forum says men are often poor users of traditional primary care services and may ignore mainstream health campaigns.

There is increasingly good evidence that taking ‘health' to ‘where men are' can result in much higher levels of engagement, it says.

Hearty Lives is soon to transform a former stewards' cloakroom at Upton Park into a gym to further its work.

Dr Ian Banks, president of the Men's Health Forum, said: ‘It's tragic that so many men still die so young from conditions that are preventable. We must develop health messages that men are more likely to respond to, for example by emphasising the short-term pleasurable and rewarding benefits of physical activity not just the longer-term health benefits. We need to demonstrate how even the busiest of men can build activity into their normal daily lives.'

Editor's blog: World Cup hero Robert Green, West Ham, male fitness and me

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