Sunday, December 04, 2011

The truth behind the 'sheds for men's health' story

An interesting article on the NHS site suggests that the Daily Mail and Telegraph may have slightly exaggerated what the research in the British Medical Journal said about the importance of sheds to men's health last week. This is particularly important since, unlike us, they've actually had access to the original article, not just the abstract.

The writer points out that the Mail claimed the study showed that sheds “could help men live longer” and that the “therapeutic effects of pottering around relieves stress, which lowers blood pressure and even boosts self-esteem”. However, the NHS article reveals that the research actually does not refer to the small buildings at the end of our gardens at all. Here's what they say:
"The BMJ article does not specifically discuss any potential benefits of the “Men’s sheds” programmes. It provides a reference to a small study in which just five older men who took part in these programmes in Australia were interviewed about their experiences. Their experiences were reported to be positive... Therefore, some news headlines have been misleading by suggesting that men can improve their health simply by tackling crosswords and DIY in a garden shed; the benefits of which are not discussed in the BMJ editorial."
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