In searching through the blogosphere for information about men’s issues, a collection of fitness, nutrition, health, and romance-related posts can be found online. Relatable and accessible, these blogs reach audiences through conversational style writing about current topics. While they can be a source of valuable information, it can be hard to sort through which are reliable and accurate. On top of that, finding a blog that strikes the right balance between the anecdotal and the academic can be challenging, which leaves many men lost in an internet surfing abyss.
Helping to send life rafts to those in need, Nicole Sacco, a local Vancouverite and University of British Columbia nursing student, has started a new blog on men’s health called Handsome Health. Pulling from her extensive broadcasting and journalistic background, Sacco has combined her love of writing with her nursing expertise to create a blog she hopes will help men to think and talk about their health. Stemming from her relationship with her grandfather and how she saw him approaching his health, inspiration struck when she realized men’s health never really came up in their conversations, “I never hear my grandfather, or any of the men that I know, talk about it. But with any of my girlfriends, we all talk about our health all the time.”
Let’s talk about ‘good looking’ health
“What would ‘good looking’ health look like?”
This is the question Sacco first asked herself when she began toying with the name for her blog. “We all hope that our health feels and looks good,” said Sacco, “And in thinking about what I wanted the website to communicate, I hoped that people would come across the blog and that it would help them start conversations that will help their health feel and look good.” And so, Handsome Health was born.
Sacco’s goal is to help men find their voice and arm them with the information they need to feel prepared to start talking. “I want it to help people through conversations,” says Sacco, “I think that there is just so much power in putting facts out there, so that people can communicate.”
The stories of ‘good looking’ health
The posts on Handsome Health look at a variety of different topics from men’s mental health, to common and uncommon health concerns in men. Pulling from local experts, Sacco ensures her posts are well informed and evidence-based in nature.
For ideas, Sacco makes a habit of looking for people who are passionate about men’s health and finding topics that interest her. “These posts are research pieces for me too. I’m coming from a place of really wanting to understand things, so I’ll meet people in social situations, either through school or professional environments, and I’ll think ‘Hey! That person seems like they’d be really great at talking about this!’”
Her class assignments at nursing school also serve as inspiration for her posts. Indeed, Sacco’s first post was adapted from a school paper she wrote on the HPV vaccine. “We work so hard on papers for school, and no one really sees them,” Sacco said, “And I would like to see more access to really thorough information made available.” Using these well-researched papers as a basis for her posts, Sacco aims to help increase this access.
The future of Handsome Health
Sacco hopes to expand her blog and have other nursing students contribute. “Nursing is so much about a group effort, and I think that I could learn a lot from my classmates who are male, who have sons, who have husbands, who have fathers.”
“I started it because I wanted to spark conversation around men’s health - it doesn’t have to have a ton of followers or anything, but if it gets, you know, my family talking or someone else, or someone and their friends talking, that would be so great.”
You can catch the latest post: “Upstream intervention: Preventing the progression of depression” featuring MHR’s own Dr. John Oliffe on Sacco’s Handsome Health blog today!