14/08/2003

Scottish Executive urges health MOT for men

Plans for a national network of health MOTs for men in Scotland, were unveiled today by the Executive.

The Scottish government intends to have health check services for men available in every part of Scotland as part of its drive to reduce the number of Scots who die prematurely from diseases such as stroke, cancer and heart disease.

New locations to improve attendance will be tried out in different parts of Scotland.

At Fullarton Health House in Irvine, which specialises in health services for men, First Minister Jack McConnell said: "The health of Scottish men has almost become a national joke. Far too many men eat badly, drink too much, and don't take nearly enough exercise. And even men who do look after themselves are often far too reluctant to get regular check-ups.

"The government is investing heavily in treatment for cancer, stroke and heart disease, but prevention is always much better than cure. We need to, and we will, improve the health service, but every man in Scotland has to take more responsibility for improving their own health.

"The important thing is that men should take care of their health. Getting a regular check is common-sense. It could save your life and it will certainly make Scotland a healthier country."

A number of pilot health check services will be tried out next year in various locations throughout Scotland. The feedback from these will be used to design a national network of health check services for men over the next few years.

Fullarton Community Health House was opened in 1989. Its work in the field of men's health includes healthy cooking classes, stop smoking programmes and sexual health information as well as general health improvement advice.

For the 12 month period up to March 2003 it is estimated that 68% of males, and 84% of females had contact with their GP during this period.

In 2002, coronary heart disease (CHD) accounted for 22% of deaths in Scottish men and 18% of deaths in women. The Executive target is to reduce the number of premature deaths from CHD for men and women by 50% between 1995-2010.

(gmcg)

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