Slimmer bid for older men

Overweight man with tight clothes
Overweight man with tight clothes

Wigan Council has funded a weight management programme aimed at tackling obesity among older men through sport.

The authority has teamed up with ABL Health to help men aged over 50 lose five per cent of their body weight through participation in physical activities and healthy lifestyle education.

Each weekly session lasts 90 minutes, with 30 minutes of education followed by 60 minutes of physical activity, all taking place within a range of community venues around the borough.

The research team held in-depth interviews with 14 participants of a men-only weight management programme provided by ABL. Eight of them were under-50s and six were over: all were classed as overweight or obese.

Prof Kate Ardern, Wigan Council director for public health, said: “We were pleased to be able to help with this research and show that our approach to reaching out to areas of the community who might not necessarily engage in traditional weight management methods through such schemes is one that is positive for men. This encourages them to stay active and eat healthily, in turn looking after their health and reducing the risk of poor health and the resultant costs from treatment.”

Research was led by Lorena Lozano-Sufrategui, senior lecturer in the School of Sport at Leeds Beckett, and published in the latest edition of Sport in Society journal.

She said: “Older men whose weight is considered unhealthy are a concern for public health policy. This population presents a higher risk of developing poor lifestyle behaviours, such as reduced physical activity levels and unhealthy diets; which can result in an increased risk of developing non-communicable diseases, including coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

“One of our key findings was that activities proved more successful with the men when practitioners were original, creative and offered a variety of both individual and group activities that promoted inclusivity and enjoyment. A key skill identified was an ability to adapt the physical activities and sports to the needs of the group.”

For more on the ABL programme ring 01942 496496.