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Men’s only health group being trialled in QLD – recruits wanted

Men’s only health group being trialled in QLD – recruits wanted

16.08.2019

After identifying a major gap in available research into men’s health in Queensland, My health for life recently undertook a study of its own to determine what the State’s men think about health and their lifestyle habits.

The research targeted more than 1200 men, 18 years and above, from diverse backgrounds across Queensland. The study also included a qualitative component with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and culturally and linguistically diverse focus groups. The findings were released at a stakeholder presentation at Queensland’s Parliament House and in a series of presentations to health professionals. My health for life shared the information in a bid to create more awareness of men’s health and to present a current, comprehensive picture of attitudes and behaviours relating to this Queensland demographic.  

Key findings included:

  • A disconnect about what men think is healthy and how they live.
  • Queensland men have a taste for “treat” foods, such as chocolate, sweets, cake, soft drink and flavoured milk, indulging on a weekly basis. Younger men have the biggest sweet tooth.
  • 65 per cent of men eat junk food weekly and regularly eat processed food, takeaway and convenience meals. Only 7 per cent eat enough vegetables. However, many believe  their diet to be  healthy or  very healthy.
  • Two in five men drink alcohol to risky levels while men 55 and over drink minimal water.  
  • Lack of motivation is the biggest barrier to exercise with younger men in their 20s and 30s often feeling too tired to undertake physical activity.
  • Negative language such as “flabby and pot belly’’ is how many describe their abdomen area, but it is regional men who are more likely to understand that a “big belly’’ carries health risks. About three in five Queensland men are overweight or obese.
  • Risk factors and the seriousness of chronic disease is not well understood - 60 per cent of men do not think pre-diabetes is serious, although a high percentage potentially have risk factors for the condition.
  • 2 in 5 men say they do not like to make a “fuss” about their health, citing costs or the belief they are already in good shape. Younger men opt to “self-manage’’ turning to the internet for health help.

The findings have prompted My health for life to trial of several men-only health groups in a bid to get more men to improve their health.   

The groups are now planned for  

  • Hervey Bay
  • Carseldine
  • Chermside
  • Carindale
  • Ipswich
  • Eight Miles Plains
  • Cleveland.

Marg Hegarty, who is coordinating the pilot for My health for life, said places are now available for men who are interested in taking part in the men only sessions.  Participants do not have to live in the area to join any of the groups, if they are willing to travel. Marg appealed to In The Loop readers to reach out to men who could be good candidates for the program. Anyone who is interested should contact My health for life on 13 74 75.

“The findings made us question whether there was more we could do as a program to support men,’’ she said.

“We know some men prefer to talk about their health in the company of other men. The groups will focus on how men can support each other,’’ she said.