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Are men Getting Lazy?

Are Men Getting Lazy?

Britain is a sport-obsessed nation with football, rugby and cricket stadiums regularly packed with fervent fans for club and inter­national matches alike. Those that don't attend can usually be found watching these games at home or in the pub.

According to Men's Health Forum, our interest in sport does not extend into partaking in physical activity ourselves. Physical inactivity affects 61% of British men, more people than obesity, alcohol misuse and smoking combined.

Physical inactivity is directly linked to a wide range of major health problems, including obesity, cardi­ovas­cular disease, diabetes and several cancers.

Long working hours, sedentary lifestyles and age have been cited in various surveys as reasons for inactivity among British men. One of the goals of Men's Health Week, running from 14-20 June, is to show that these issues can be overcome.

The importance of British men becoming more active is well illustrated by statistics published in the Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report, by Sport England and in the Eurobaro­meter Survey of Sport and Physical Activity. Discover the facts about physical inactivity among British men in the

72% of British men do not know that the Chief Medical Officer's recommended level of physical activity is 30 minutes of at least moderate-intensity activity five days of every week.

Research conducted by Sport England shows that just 20% of men participate in sport (defined as at least 30 minutes of sport at moderate intensity at least three times a week, excluding recreational walking and infrequent recreational cycling).

Levels of physical activity fall dramatically as men get older. The Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report 2009 shows a sharp decline that starts when men reach 35 years of age and continues into later life. About 50% of men aged 16-34 say they meet the recom­men­dations for physical activity but the levels fall to 44% for 35-to-44 year olds, 32% for 55-to-64 year olds and 9% for men aged 75 or over.

Men from economically poorer backgrounds are more likely to be physically inactive. Males in the lowest 20% in terms of household income are almost twice as likely to not meet the Chief Medical Officer's recom­men­dations for physical activity as men in the highest quintile.

Physical inactivity is a major factor in British men dying prematurely. Men's Health Forum states that 22% of men in England and Wales die before they reach 64 compared to 13% of women; 42% are dead by 75 compared to 26% of women.

Higher levels of physical activity could make a big impact - physically active men have a 20-30% reduced risk of premature death and up to 50% reduced risk of developing major chronic diseases. Men who walk or cycle for at least 30 minutes a day have a 34% lower risk of dying from cancer than the men who do less exercise or nothing at all.


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