Maximize men’s health; you can do it, guys!
There is no way to tone down this message: most men need to be more careful about their health. Compared to women, they smoke and drink more, make riskier and unhealthy choices, and are much more reluctant to see a doctor for a checkup or because of a nagging health problem (this will go away if I ignore it! ). Therefore, women who were 65 in 2014 can expect to live two and a half years longer than men who were 65 in that year. Even more surprising: in 2020, the life expectancy of American men at birth was 75.1 years and that of women at birth 80.5 years.
Just listen to this: The leading causes of death in the United States among men are heart disease, cancer, and unintentional accidents (those risky choices). That’s because over 40% of men aged 20 and over are obese and only 42.4% meet guidelines for aerobic activity during leisure time. They also have high blood pressure – around 52%. In addition, 15% of boys aged 18 and over smoke and almost 31% have had more than five drinks a day at least once in the past year. In 2019, 7% of men had an alcohol use disorder compared to 4% of women. Obesity, high blood pressure, alcohol abuse and inactivity increase the risk of chronic disease and premature death.
The good news is that most of these risk factors can be changed by improving your lifestyle choices. It may seem difficult, but the rewards are immediate and huge: a better outlook on life, more energy, an improved sex life, and no worries about your health and longevity.
To help men take better care of themselves and live longer, healthier lives, experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office for Minority Health have suggested six steps. Now we know this is easier said than done – so we’ve added some helpful procedures.
1. See your doctor for regular exams, including prostate and cardiovascular health, to check testosterone levels and get cancer screenings. For more information on colonoscopies, see âWhat You Need to Know About Colon Cancerâ on DoctorOz.com. And for an overview of prostate health, go to âWhy Men’s Health Needs Your Helpâ on the website.
Also, don’t delay in going to the doctor to ask yourself questions about how you are feeling. A hint of chest pain? An annoying mole? Having trouble catching your breath? These types of physical problems require attention, not forgetfulness. Ignoring them can make things worse for you in the long run.
2. Pay attention to what you eat. Dr Mike can show you how easy it is in his What to Eat When book. You will learn to experiment with new combinations of flavors and spices and to appreciate seasonal vegetables and fruits as well as lean poultry and fish.
3. Stay active – outside of work. It turns out that physical work does not offer the same health benefits as intentional aerobics and muscle building. Moderate, healthy activities include hoop shooting for 30 minutes, swimming for 20 minutes, and walking for 20 minutes for 10,000 steps per day. To get started, try âDr. Oz’s Seven Minute Workoutâ with Joel Harper on YouTube.
4. Stop smoking and vaping – even marijuana is implicated in a substantial increase in heart disease in adult users. Check out CDC.gov, “How to Quit Smoking”.
5. Practice stress management daily and understand that asking for help with mental health problems takes strength – not a sign of weakness. Start with âHow to Get Helpâ on MentalHealth.gov. And check out Mental Health America on
mhamentalhealth.org for many resources.
6. Stay up to date on all of your vaccines, including COVID-19. More women than men receive this vaccine, even as more men die from COVID-19. To see recommended adult vaccines and find out what you’re missing, visit CDC.gov. Search for “Adult Vaccine Schedule”. Treat yourself to better health today!
Mehmet Oz, MD is the host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, MD is Director of Wellness and President of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your health, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, MD and Mehmet Oz, MD