Million men activity challenge

The Million Men challenge sets out the Men's Health Forum's challenge to government, NHS, local authorities, sports organisations and charities to work together to get one million more middle-aged men more active.

Action is urgently needed, the paper argues, because far too many men still die too young – 22% of men in England and Wales die before they reach 64 compared to 13% of women. Higher levels of physical activity Walking mancould make a big impact since active men have a 20-30% reduced risk of premature death and up to 50% reduced risk of developing major chronic diseases. 

The one million figure is not a randomly chosen one. One million is almost exactly the number of men in England and Wales aged 35-64 who will need to change their behaviour if minimum activity levels in this age group are to rise to the level currently achieved by younger men.

The Men’s Health Forum is challenging government, the NHS, local government, sports organisations, charities and others to work together to help one million more middle-aged men in England achieve the Chief Medical Officer’s minimum recommended levels by 2012.

Key issues

  • Too many men are inactive with serious effects on their health, the NHS and the wider economy.
  • Men must not be overlooked in policy and practice on physical activity; physical inactivity in women must be tackled but it is not just a women’s health problem.
  • There are important differences in men’s and women’s attitudes to physical activity and the barriers that prevent them becoming more active.
  • Social marketing approaches should be used to improve the physical activity ‘message’ to men.
  • The public health workforce requires information and training to enable the engagement of larger numbers of men in physical activity.
  • More must be done to realise the potential role of sports venues to deliver health services and campaigns to men.

This report was originally produced for Men's Health Week 2010.

One million men activity challenge policy and practice recommendations (PDF, 49kb)