This is a critical time for many men on the island of Ireland. There’s a date that all men need to know about - as it could make a huge impact upon their health.
This date is Monday 13th - Sunday 19th June 2016, also known as International Men’s Health Week (or, to some, the first week of the long awaited Euro 2016 Championship).
To help local men etch this date into their minds, National Soccer Squad Managers, Michael O’Neill and Martin O’Neill, are featuring in an island-wide poster campaign to launch Men’s Health Week and raise awareness of men’s health needs.
This has certainly worked because, just like the matches in France, all the Men’s Health Week resources are already sold out!
‘Euro 2016 Fever’ is in the air. Men across the country are planning their viewing schedules (possibly even their working hours), stockpiling enough refreshments to see them through a nuclear winter, and making arrangements with their friends for the common sharing of this unique experience - as soccer teams from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have qualified for the Championship.
Many men are knowledgeable about what lies ahead. They know which teams have got through to this stage; who is in each group; what days and times countries will be playing; what the bookies’ odds are for each team to win; and which players are likely to be the stars of the competition.
Euro 2016 has created a common bond among many men. They have a reason to be in each other’s company. They are well informed by the media about what lies ahead. They are prepared to give their opinions and stand out from the crowd. They are motivated and excited.
They are passionate, enthusiastic and want to be involved. They are likely to show more emotion than usual... They’ve obviously caught a bug. Maybe ‘Euro 2016 Fever’ is a medical condition after all.
Colin Fowler, Director of Operations for the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland, commented: “These are traits that we don‟t often associate with males on the island of Ireland, and we need to harness this energy. Like a common cold, Euro 2016 will come and go in a matter of weeks, but men‟s health issues will remain long into the future. Men on the island of Ireland experience a disproportionate burden of ill-health and die too young, but this is not a lost cause. Men‟s Health Week seeks to do something positive and practical to challenge this situation”.
So, why should we focus upon men’s health? Well, the reasons are both stark and clear ...
Men in Ireland die, on average, almost four and a half years younger than women do.
Males have higher death rates than women for all of the leading causes of death and at all ages.
Poor lifestyles are responsible for a high proportion of chronic diseases.
Late presentation to health services leads to a large number of problems becoming
This high level of premature mortality amongst men in Ireland has far-reaching repercussions - far beyond the life satisfaction of men themselves. It affects not only industry and commerce, but also impacts upon the social and financial positions of families. However, just like in the
Euro 2016 Championship, Men’s Health Week this year calls upon men to unite and work
together for change. Everyone on the island of Ireland is encouraged to ask themselves the question: “are we winning?‟ in relation to men’s health. If the answer is no, then it’s time to do something to remedy this situation.
To support Men’s Health Week 2016, the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland (www.mhfi.org) has produced a new, free, 32 page Man Manual. This booklet - titled ‘Challenges and Choices’ - opens with the statement: “Warning ... Reading this manual can seriously improve your health‟, and goes on to issue a series of ten simple, practical challenges to local men:
1. Order a soft drink the next time you’re in the pub.
2. Try some fruit or vegetables you’ve never tasted before or think you don’t like.
3. Make at least one journey by foot or bicycle instead of going by car.
4. If you’re under 25 and sexually active, get yourself checked for chlamydia.
5. Stressed out? ... Walk away from tense situations before you blow up.
6. Find out about the opening hours at your local GP’s surgery.
7. Get your blood pressure checked within the next two weeks.
8. Get a mate to quit smoking with you - and get advice on how to stop.
9. Show a doctor that lump, strange-shaped mole, or rash that’s bothering you.
10. If you get backache, don’t let it become a pain in the ass. Get it sorted.
Each challenge is accompanied by a reason why it is important to take action, a menu of possible choices available, and where to find help. Most importantly, it provides this information in a straightforward, step-by-step, humorous and commonsense way.
Helping to launch Men’s Health Week, Minister for Health, Michelle O’Neill, stated: “Evidence clearly shows that there are many challenges to be faced when seeking to improve men‟s health. However, it also highlights that men‟s health can be improved in many significant ways - if men make the right choices, and are given the support, encouragement and opportunities to succeed. This Man Manual provides the information and the tools, and Men‟s Health Week offers men across Ireland the opportunity to make a positive change. I am delighted that the Public Health Agency was able to support the production of this much-requested booklet.”
Colin Fowler adds: “Over the next few weeks, men of all ages and backgrounds on the island of Ireland will be captivated by the exploits of some of the fittest athletes in the world. It‟s ironic that, at the same time, some of these men may also be over-indulging in junk food, alcohol, smoking and sofa surfing. Michael O‟Neill and Martin O‟Neill know the importance of having a squad which is healthy in both mind and body. Men‟s Health Week calls men to action, to unite with others to improve their health and, of course, to enjoy the Euro 2016 Championship!”