Be an action hero for men’s health week (and beyond)!

It’s Men’s Health Week and for once men, you’re getting the attention you deserve!

man wearing a men's health week t shirt

The truth is that the health stats on the island of Ireland are worse for men than women, but men’s health isn’t often viewed as important, particularly by men themselves. This has translated to our food lives where men are less likely to be responsible for food in a household, have less food skills (through no fault of their own!), poorer knowledge about food safety and nutrition, more cavalier attitudes about food in general and worse diets.

Life expectancy in the Republic of Ireland is 76.8 years for men and 81.6 years for women. In Northern Ireland life expectancy for males has increased from 73 years in 1992-1994 to 76.6 years in 2007-2009. That’s good news but this is still slightly lower than females who recorded an increase in age from 78.7 to 81.3 for the same time period.

Our culture traditionally dictates that masculinity means being disengaged with food and health and opting for big, meaty meals at every opportunity. Being a big man has often also been viewed as socially desirable.

"When I’m with my friends, I wouldn’t picture myself eating vegetables…if I was at my ma’s house, I would eat whatever is put in front of me…, but once you are with your friends you don’t really think about what you’re eating, you just get whatever”

Dieting is viewed as something for the girls, and even if you wanted to lose weight, you would find less supports available to do so than are available to women. The irony is that overweight and obesity is a bigger problem for men than it is for women.

male / female BMI graph for 2011 in ireland

Seems like men do need a hero after all. And who's that hero?


It’s time to take action. We are suggesting 5 simple changes that might make a difference to your health.

graphic of belly and measuring tape

1. Measure your waist

Overweight and obesity are more common among men than women.

graphic of a big plate and a small plate

2. Watch your portion size

Men tend to think that bigger portions are the norm. Some men think big portions are ‘manly’ but bigger portions can make us gain weight.

graphic of takeawy containers and salt

3. Shake the salt habit

Irish men consume more salt compared to women. Eating too much salt may result in high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke or heart disease.

graphic of bread and cereal

4. Eat more fibre

At 23.2g/day of fibre, men are ahead of women (17.4g/day). But unfortunately, men are still falling short of the recommended levels of 25g/day.

graphic of different types of meat

5. Eat less meat

Irish men on average consume 30.9g of processed meat a day compared to women who consume 19.9g a day.

Edna ModeAnd remember ‘No Capes!’

(Edna Mode, The Incredibles)

Image (c) IMDB


Posted: 12/06/2013 10:02:11 by Aileen McGloin
Filed under: BMI, Diet, Health, Men

About Me

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Aileen McGloin
Hi, my name is Aileen McGloin and I am the Director of Marketing and Communications, at safefood. I trained as a public health nutritionist originally and am passionate about changing food-related behaviour. I have a particular interest in using digital technology to promote health. At home, I love books, am in a book club and married to a crime writer. I’m a fiend for all things fashion and like walking, swimming and TV that is so bad it’s good. I live in Co. Wicklow with my husband and 10 year old daughter.