Thrive4Life’s Benjamin Klein got the chance to interview award-winning men’s health author and advocate Peter Baker.
The two spoke at length about the importance of a holistic approach to men’s health and wellbeing, the importance of overcoming social barriers and stigmas and encouraging open conversation, and the key messages that men need to take home this Movember 2021.
[Please note, this interview was conducted in November 2021].
Read a section of the interview below.
HAS BEEN AT THE CENTRE OF DEVELOPMENTS IN MEN’S HEALTH IN THE UK AND INTERNATIONALLY SINCE 2000. HE HAS A DEEPLY-HELD AND LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF MEN’S LIVES.
We understand now that men’s health is about every health issue that affects men, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health. Of course, many of these affect women as well, which is why men’s health and women’s health objectives should be aligned. My own work has provided me with this broadened perspective.
Likewise, there was always the perception in the past that men were ignorant about their health and wellbeing. But my work, certainly, has given me an appreciation for the ways men’s attitudes are shaped by social and cultural factors. We need to confront and understand these factors if we want to support men’s health in a way that is meaningful and relevant to men.
But that said, not all men view their health in the same way. There are many men out there that do look after themselves, that don’t smoke or drink, and that take plenty of exercise, so we also need to avoid stereotyping.
But even since before the pandemic, there have been huge inequalities between different groups of men. There are vast differences in life expectancy, to cite one example, between the poorer and more affluent classes. Likewise, between different ethnic groups and between straight and queer (gay, bisexual, transgender etc.) men. Levelling up needs to be seen as an integral component of addressing men’s health and tackling the effects of the pandemic.
As an example, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when talking about masculinity or manliness?
Community spaces for men, however, also need to be meaningful and relevant to them. Consider practical stuff that many men like doing, such as playing football or going to the pub. Using sports to encourage men to connect and open up comes with many added benefits – you will lose weight and increase your fitness in the process!
And of course, think about what you can do to support a men’s health charity, financially or by offering your volunteering support. Movember, after all, is about supporting the many organisations that serve the health and wellbeing of men and boys across the world.