Men’s Health Information and Resource Centre

Everton Football Club: Men's Health Checks

1 270px Over 120,000 men in the UK die prematurely every year. Male life expectancy in Liverpool is the third lowest in England with 46.3% of men in Liverpool classified as overweight.

"Before I got involved with this project I just sat in all day, every day. It was depressing, but now I’ve got something to look forward to and I’ve made some good friends..."

Everton in the Community (Everton Football Clubs official charity) has operated the Premier League Health project in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, since August 2009.

Funding from 'The Football Pools' allowed Everton in the Community to operate this project and to employ a 'Men’s Health Coordinator' to oversee the development of this project over a 3-year period.

This funding amounts to £89,000 (August 2009 – August 2012) and incorporates general project development costs. Additional, funding from the 'Pfizer Foundation' and 'Heart Research UK' allowed Everton in the Community to employ a part time wellbeing advisor to oversee the health and well-being of all programme participants and to deliver the men’s health sessions.

The Premier League Health programme addresses pertinent men’s health issues in the city of Liverpool, with a particular focus on six key regional health themes:

  • Smoking Cessation
  • Alcohol and Drug misuse
  • Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Health
  • Cancer

The 'Premier League Health' programme uses the power of football as a vehicle to engage men (18-35 yrs) in physical activity and health related behaviours. The programme engages men in weekly physical activity sessions alongside the delivery of health workshops/drop in sessions offering regular contact with NHS referral services and partner organisations (such as smoking, cancer and sexual health clinics) in an environment that men already go to and feel comfortable in.

The project operates weekly evening football, circuit training and boxing sessions, implemented in consultation with existing and prospective participants. Additionally, we operate series of 12 week programmes with targeted populations such as men who are classified as homeless, obese and/or recovering drug users. Participants have their Body Mass Index, Resting Heart Rate and Blood Pressure monitored on a regular basis and some also visit our partner university (Liverpool John Moores University) for in depth health screening and cardiac assessments.

The project has successfully engaged the general population and also with men whose traditional communication strategies are limited through a lack of contact with health services and challenging social circumstances. In just two years, the project has achieved direct quality engagement with over 120 men, many of whom are living in homeless shelters, recovering from substance misuse and long term unemployed. Our innovative project also reaches thousands of men through media and marketing campaigns at Everton Football Club, in some cases helping to capture early cancer indicators in some individuals through cancer awareness marketing in stadium toilets.

This project has achieved a positive impact on men’s health and fitness, measured by in-depth screening at Liverpool John Moores University, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences. A reduction in participants’ total body mass, fat mass, percentage fat, blood pressure and resting heart rate have been evidenced alongside an increase in lean muscle mass, endurance, social capital and self-efficacy. Project findings are disseminated at regional, national, European and international conferences and published in international journals.

Our programme has been shortlisted by the World Health Organisation as an example of best practice for promoting physical activity and health in socially disadvantaged groups.

Quotes From Participating Men:

Before I got involved with this project I just sat in all day, every day. It was depressing, but now I’ve got something to look forward to and I’ve made some good friends. I can’t believe it is delivered through Everton FC as well, I love Everton, it’s my team. It’s great for me because I’m feeling fitter and the staff check my blood pressure too. I’m a lot healthier now.
Tony, Project Participant, 21, Liverpool

Before I got involved in ‘Premier League Health’ I had not done any exercise for over 10 years and was unable to even walk from the office car park to my desk without getting out of breath. Since starting the course I have become much fitter and I’m now exercising regularly outside of the course and even cycling to work at least two days per week!! It has also helped to reduce my stress levels and blood pressure, improving my ability to do my job.
Ian, Project Participant, 32, Liverpool
I've been involved with the project from the very beginning, and have enjoyed every minute of it, the sessions are well planned and organised, the facilities are second to none and the coaching and encouragement from the staff at Everton is amazing, and to receive all this from my Football Club shows how good this Club can be to the community. Although I'm a pretty active person anyway, I've found myself feeling fitter all the time, I feel healthier, stronger and more enthusiastic about getting and keeping in shape, and this has all been thanks to the Premier League Health programme. Furthermore the project staff have encouraged me to continue to grow as a person and have given me the opportunity to take part in Level 1 Football Coaching course. Thank you for providing such and excellent programme and long may it continue.
Dave, Project Participant, 28, Liverpool

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