Free health checks could save lives

Cambridge Baptist Church custodian David Mucznik pictured in the “colossal colon” at the last men’s health event.

Local men are being urged to pick up potential health snags early by getting a free “warrant of fitness” check at Friday’s Men’s Health Event at the Cambridge Baptist Church.

Organising the event for the second time are Cambridge Baptist church members Delia Edmeades and Helen Vaughan. The first was held in 2016 and resulted in around 100 “WOF” cards being issued to blokes happy to come in for on-the-spot free medical advice.

“We know that a few skin cancers early signals of heart disease were picked up during that first event,” said Delia. “That tells us it has a real value. Our health providers were busy throughout that event … there will be even more available for the public this time around.

“We’re encouraging as many men as possible – young and old – to give up an hour or so of their day to access the free health screening.”

They said men often consider themselves relatively ‘bullet-proof’ and visit medical professionals when a health issue may already be established.  It was far better, they suggested, to come to the event, talk through any potential physical or mental health issues, and detect potential problems as early as possible via the free screening offered by health providers at the event.

The women have spread the word around town and at rural schools, and Helen – a faith community nurse – suggested that workplaces encourage their male employees to take an hour off work on Friday to go to the event.

Delia Edmeades, (left) and Helen Vaughan hope that as many men as possible will make use of next week’s free health checks.

“At the end of the day, having a healthy workforce benefits both the employee and the employer. It’s an easy way for businesses to look after their staff.”

The range of providers on tap this Friday will include those screening for heart disease, a range of cancers and diabetes, groups concerned with mental health issues, mobile pharmacists advising on medication, a podiatrist and those offering advice on hearing.

This year’s event will be move interactive than the first. Based on new research which shows a person’s height to weight ratio to be a better predictor of heart disease and diabetes than body mass index, two GPs will be on hand to do measurement checks on men coming through.

Providers will also be able to do checks on blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels, there will be mole-map information available, and on show will be a “colossal colon”, aimed at providing a visual incentive to learn about bowel cancer.

The women said New Zealand’s bowel cancer rate was among the highest in the OECD.

“Overall,” said Delia, “some eight men die each day in New Zealand from preventable health issues, and our rates of mortality around heart disease and diabetes particularly are very high.”

Among the 30 or so providers will be Sport Waikato and its Green Prescription model, Life Unlimited with information around mobility and assistance devices, and a counsellor from Cambridge Community House.

The event is organised by the Cambridge Baptist Church, and will be held at its 58 Queen Street premises between 10am and 2pm on Friday, March 16.

Morning tea will be available.

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