Weight-loss schemes failing men

13/07/15 . News

Men are not getting the weight-loss services they need. Although men are more likely to be overweight than women, women are far more likely to get a place on a local authority weight-loss programme.

Using a Freedom of Information request, the Men's Health Forum asked local authorities how many people had been helped by their weight-loss programmes in 2013-14. The answer was 110,324 women but just 29,919 men suggesting that you're getting on more than three and a half times more likely to get local authority help with weight-loss if you're a woman than if you're a man.

The gap is even wider if you consider how likely men and women are to be overweight in the first place: 67% of men are overweight or obese compared to 57% of women.

'These figures are pretty shocking,' said Martin Tod, CEO of Men’s Health Forum. 'We want to see local councils making much bigger efforts to design their services to work for men. This is particularly important because men comprise three-quarters of premature deaths from coronary heart disease – and middle-aged men are twice as likely as women to get diabetes.'

How to… guide

According to a recent publication from the Forum, How To Make Weight-Loss Services Work For Men, there are several reasons for the gender gap including poor advertising or marketing, services which are inappropriate or unattractive to men and unsuitable venues or times. The guide pulls together the evidence on what works with weight-loss for men.

Martin said: 'the guide explains to commissioners exactly what works and what doesn't in designing weight-loss services that appeal to both men and women. For some men, the answer may be a male-only option but even more important is the need for male-friendly services all round.'