Internet users have been confronted with saucy government health warnings, part of a campaign to persuade men to take their health more seriously over Christmas.

The banner advertisements (above) which pop up on websites used by men show a male symbol flopping over with the slogan: "Too much beer last night? Or something more serious."

They urge men to check out the potential problems of over-indulgence by using the NHS Direct website ( amid concern that too few men are using the service.

Advice is given on problems including the seasonal dangers of too much alcohol and high cholesterol levels.

Hazel Blears, the Health minister who approved the campaign, said the warnings were not offensive, despite their laddish style.

"They are a bit saucy, but we thought it was one way of getting the message across to men," she said.

A spokesman for the health department said: "Usage of NHS Direct among 18- to 24-year-old men is currently lower than we would expect, given their use of the internet in general as a source of information."

The NHS Direct online campaign is targeted at young men, and aims to speak their language by offering them health advice in a convenient but anonymous way.

The advertisements have been placed on websites visited and used regularly by men.