If you're aged between 40-74 (and in England) look out for your invitation for a free health check. The government reckons it can save over 500 lives a year and prevent over 1500 heart attacks and strokes through preventative check-ups. And the MHF agrees. If you're invited, I strongly urge you to go along. It won't be long or painful - a few questions, weight, height and a simple blood test. Let us know how you get on - especially if you don't find it helpful.
The downside - as usual - is that it will take time for everyone to be seen. Local Primary Care Trusts are designing their own plans and government admits the scheme won't be available everywhere in England until 2012/13
Why now? Well, perhaps the government has been reading Hazardous Waist, a book the MHF helped produce with Radcliffe Publishing back in 2007 but which suddenly, for some unknown reason, has started attracting the reviews it deserves. Edited by MHF chair Alan White and Maggie Pettifer, the book has been described as 'the perfect antidote to the laissez faire attitude that seems to pervade male health problems at the present time' (Dr Jeremy Sagar, Univadis).
While in Perspectives in Public Health, Dr Bashir Qureshi admits: 'the account in this book was so moving that I have decided to do something to shrink my own middle-age spread. I cannot think of any health professional or general reader who would not like to read and benefit from this slim book.'
Praise indeed - if you've not been invited for your free check-up yet, why not give it a read?