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Hoops 'N' Health: Celebrating 25 Years of Making Menís Health & Wellness a Priority

Hoops 'N' Health scheduled for June 16

June 15, 2018

For the 25th consecutive year, the Men’s Health League and the Men of Color Task Force are hosting the Hoops 'N' Health sports tournament and health fair on Saturday, June 16, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at Hoyt Field (Gilmore St. & Western Ave.) in Cambridge.

The popular, free event draws over 300 men and boys who compete in basketball and flag football tournaments, and participate in a required health workshop.

Hoops ‘N’ Health was launched in 1994 by Cambridge Hospital’s newly created Men of Color Health Program as a way to encourage black men and boys to seek routine health care services. Now called the Men’s Health League, the program sits at the Cambridge Public Health Department and is a comprehensive men’s wellness initiative that promotes routine screenings, fitness and a healthy diet, and regular visits to a physician.

“In the early 1990s, public health and civic leaders in Cambridge saw that black men were in a silent health crisis and they mobilized to take action,” said Claude Jacob, Chief Public Health Officer and director of the Cambridge Public Health Department. “When Hoops ‘N’ Health started, black males in America, on average, were not expected to live to their 65th birthday,” Jacob added. 

Progress has been made in men’s health, and U.S. males of all races and ethnicities are living longer on average than they did 25 years ago. But some groups have fared better than others.  Males of African descent continue to have the lowest life expectancy in the United States among both men and women, and the highest death rate for heart disease, stroke, cancer, homicide, and firearm-related injury.

“Hoops ‘N’ Health is the only event of its kind in Cambridge.  We want to show that we—public health, other city departments, the hospitals, nonprofits—care about and are invested in the black community and other groups that aren’t on a level playing field when it comes to health,” said Jacob.

To celebrate 25 years of making men’s health a priority, Hoops ‘N’ Health will raffle off Celtics and Harlem Globetrotters tickets and other prizes; host a special appearance by Wally, the official mascot of the Boston Red Sox; and offer photo opps with the World Series trophy. The event also includes live music, dancing, Zumba, cooking demonstrations, a free healthy lunch, kids’ games, and an “Ask a Health Care Provider” table. 

Rain date is Saturday, June 23. 

For more information or to sign up a team, contact Richard Harding at the Cambridge Public Health Department at 617-665-3769 or cphdevents@challiance.org.  See the full schedule of events

Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer

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