The Men's Health Forum has followed up its call for the chief medical officer (CMO) to dedicate next year's annual report to men's health with some practical assistance.
In a letter to CMO Dame Sally Davies, Forum CEO Martin Tod welcomed this year's annual report The health of the 51%: Women for its gendered approach to health, for giving parity to mental and physical health and for seeing the need for wider societal engagement in improving health, especially in the workplace. 'We would strongly welcome a similar report on men and boys’ health next year,' Martin concluded.
Martin drew Dame Sally's attention to the 'similarly wide-ranging approach' in the Forum's Men’s Health Manifesto and to its recommendations to improve men’s health:
- Highlighting the importance of tracking and reporting outcomes by gender
- Increased investment in health research into men’s health issues, such as the excess burden of most common cancers amongst men
- A strong continued focus on prevention
- Removing the barriers to using health care, mental health and preventative care – especially for men (and women) in full-time work and self-employment
- Not waiting for men to engage in areas where late presentation or underuse of services is an issue – especially mental health
- Targeted programmes around the needs and attitudes of the highest risk men & boys
- Building health awareness and literacy, especially amongst boys
- Organisational focus on gender and inequalities across the whole health system
One area we were particularly pleased to see highlighted was obesity. As you know, in the UK, men are significantly more likely to be overweight than women (although less likely to know it) and slightly more likely to be obese. However, our recent survey of local authorities showed that, in authorities that record gendered figures, only 29,197 men received help from their local authority to lose weight, compared to 110,324 women. In addition, men are also only 24% of those receiving in-patient bariatric surgery. We strongly support action to address this – including a gendered approach to designing weight management programmes.
The letter reminded Dame Sally of the key role the Chief Medical Officer’s Report has played in men's health. The chapter on the topic in Sir Kenneth Calman’s report in 1992 helped put men's health on the map and led to the Men’s Health Forum being set up in the first place.