I’m very proud to be an ambassador of the Blue Ribbon Foundation, a national charity working to raise awareness of male health issues by encouraging men to take positive action to safeguard their health and wellbeing.

Being involved with this important charity, whose sister charity is the Pink Ribbon Foundation, has made me far more aware of the importance of looking after your health, especially as I am officially classified as being ‘middle aged,’ which is now accepted to cover  the years from ‘about’ 40 to ‘about’ 65.  That said, I’m reminded of a comment I once heard the comedy writer Barry Cryer say about middle-age – ‘middle-age? How many 130 year old people do you know?! – but I digress.

What the Blue Ribbon Foundation provides is clear and concise information and advice on issues that men of all ages can relate to, such as the importance of measuring their waist and watching out for what is colloquially known as ‘middle age spread!’  Something that I seem to have become more sensitive to of late for some reason!

It’s an important issue though because people who carry too much weight around their middle have a greater risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. For men, we have a higher risk of health problems if our waist size is more than 94cm (37 inches).

Let’s be honest, most of us assume we know our waist size, don’t we? We buy trousers with the same waist and inside leg measurements as we’ve always done and when we try on new trousers that feel tight we tell ourselves that ‘it must be the cut or the style’ and that it’s clearly a ‘design issue’ and stick to buying our usual ‘with stretch’ trousers as they ‘fit perfectly’. What we probably don’t do is use it as a warning sign to start losing weight.

It sounds daft but do you know how to correctly measure your waist?  I didn’t until I found out from my involvement with the Blue Ribbon Foundation. In fact,  nine-out-of-10 of the 1,000 men surveyed by the British Heart Foundation recently admitted that they didn’t know how to measure their waist properly.

So how do you do it?

  • find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips
  • breathe out naturally
  • wrap a tape measure around your waist midway between these points to find your measurement

At the Blue Ribbon Foundation we’ve developed great relationships with the Charlton Athletic Community Trust and with Ebbsfleet United FC and the charity has staged matchday men’s health promotions at The Valley and at the Kufflink Stadium. Now of course I realise that discussing weight problems with football supporters at a football ground when they’re enjoying their pre-match pie and a pint is a little incongruous but generally speaking, putting on excess weight is simply due to eating more calories than you burn. Over time, that excess energy is stored by the body as fat and this leads to issues with the ‘cut and style’ and ‘design‘ of your trousers!

So gentlemen the next time your trousers feel too tight don’t put it down to design vagaries, use it as your spur to reduce your waist size. You’ll feel better and who knows, that suit you’ve kept in your wardrobe because you used to like it but is too small for you ‘at the moment’ just might be able to make a comeback!

Right, where’s that tape measure?!

For further information on men’s health matters go to:  www.blueribbonfoundation.org.uk