Taking responsibility for your own health has been a central tenet of public health policy internationally for a number of decades. Governments in the UK and internationally continue to promote a plethora of health promotion strategies, encouraging individuals and communities to adopt healthy lifestyle choices. Although it is widely recognised that men are not as proactive in seeking out medical help or taking on health promotion advice as women, limited gender-sensitive research exists in the field of intellectual disability. Despite many health promotion policy and practice strategies targeted at this population, little research exists exploring whether men with intellectual disability acknowledge health promotion advice. The study aimed to explore how men with mild-to-moderate intellectual disability understood and perceived their health and what health promotion messages they acted upon. The study was based on a participatory approach which enabled 11 men with intellectual disability to contribute as steering group members and as participants through one-to-one interviews. Data were collected between September 2011 and July 2012. Thematic analysis was undertaken. The participants demonstrated a capacity to understand their own health. This was inclusive of a concern about associating being obese with being unhealthy. The participants reported good relationships with their general practitioners (GPs) and felt valued, in particular when the GP was prepared to offer specific intellectual disability and health promotion advice. More gendered research inclusive of the views of this male population is required and the study reiterates the importance of promoting the health of men and women with intellectual disability.
Bibliographical noteArticle in press, full citation details will be updated once available.
- health promotion
- men with intellectual disability
- men's health and masculinity
- participatory research