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The marked disparity in life expectancy between men and women suggests men are a vulnerable group requiring targeted health promotion programs. As such, there is an increasing need for health promotion strategies that effectively engage men with their health and/or illness management. Programs that promote physical activity could significantly improve the health of men. Although George et al. (Sports Med 42(3):281, 30) reviewed physical activity programs involving adult males published between 1990 and 2010, developments in men’s health have prompted the emergence of new sex- and gender-specific approaches targeting men. The purpose of this review was to: (1) extend and update the review undertaken by George et al. (Sports Med 42(3):281, 30) concerning the effectiveness of physical activity programs in males, and (2) evaluate the integration of gender-specific influences in the content, design, and delivery of men’s health promotion programs. A search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, and the SPORTDiscus databases for articles published between January 2010 and August 2014 was conducted. In total, 35 studies, involving evaluations of 31 programs, were identified. Findings revealed that a variety of techniques and modes of delivery could effectively promote physical activity among men. Though the majority of programs were offered exclusively to men, 12 programs explicitly integrated gender-related influences in male-specific programs in ways that recognized men’s interests and preferences. Innovations in male-only programs that focus on masculine ideals and gender influences to engage men in increasing their physical activity hold potential for informing strategies to promote other areas of men’s health.
Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research
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