HEALTH experts are using the beautiful game with the goal of communicating essential health messages to men.

Hundreds of football fans attending the clash between Darlington and Aldershot were urged to take greater care of themselves in the future.

NHS Darlington sponsored the League Two game and took the chance to display a prominent advert in the matchday programme.

It called for men to be aware of a host of vital issues that could affect their health, from dietary and exercise habits to back problems and prostate cancer.

The sponsorship followed on from the NHS Darlington Stop Smoking service hosting a drop-in session at the Quakers' ground, to help people kick the habit.

Several local children were also invited by NHS Darlington to enjoy a meal and watch the match, which ended in a home win, from a corporate hospitality box.

Miriam Davidson, Darlington's director of public health, said: "Men are perhaps a little more reluctant to seek help from their GP or other health professionals if they suspect something could be wrong.

"What we are saying is that there is a wealth of expertise and support available for men in Darlington, and they need to take advantage of these excellent services to deal with a range of conditions."

David Regan, who runs the Evolution of Man male health helpline, said: “Sometimes, people don’t know who to talk to, so we’re here to let men know that there is a variety of services out there.