Men in New York (and in the U.S.) live shorter lives than women. Here are some suggestions to extend their life expectancy
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
The average New York male has a life expectancy of 77.92 years, according to www.worldlifeexpectancy.com, compared with 82.79 for women.
It’s understandable that men’s life expectancy tends to be shorter than women’s. Many male-dominated occupations such as commercial fishing, forestry, farming, construction and electric line workers tend to be high-risk occupations.
Men also tend to engage in riskier hobbies at higher rates than women and riskier behavior in general, such as performing stunts, smoking and using illicit drugs. Men don’t tend to maintain regular doctor visits and ask about health screenings.
However, men can take a few steps to increase their potential for a long, healthy life. Two local doctors offer suggestions for a longer and healthy life.
1. “Work on cancer prevention. One out of nine men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and that can impact men’s health because of chronic morbidity and coping with the disease aftermath. Healthy weight and diet are important for cancer prevention.
2. “A few anti-inflammatory things can help, like improving vitamin D and vitamin E levels.
3. “Eat enough eggs, fish and fortified foods like milk. Relatively safe exposure to sunlight helps with D. Lycopene-rich foods like tomatoes, watermelon and apricots show good association with improving men’s help and suppressing things that stimulate cancer growth.
4. “Omega-3 fatty acids show variable evident at this point in reducing risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. There’s low relative risk in taking it.
5. “Try to see what you can do to improve mental health. Many articles talk about the rise of depression and suicide. Mental health for men is still very under-served. Men need to be more open about it to talk with loved ones and with primary care providers. Depression affects sleep and ability to function at work and their ability to feel motivated to eat well and exercise. The mind-body connection is very, very strong. If we don’t correlate mental health with physical health, we’re not whole.
6. “Maintain a good weight through exercise and nutrition, as it’s good for health. It decreases risk of arthritis, improves cardiovascular health and wellness and decreases cancer risk.
7. “Some foods have high anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Some foods are the opposite. Eat in a way that will promote a healthy lifestyle.”
• Joanne Wu, an integrative and holistic medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in wellness.
8. “Usually, men don’t manage stress well. They should make sure they have a safe space or a few close, trusted friends or family members to confide in. That does a lot for good mental health. It’s not as socially acceptable for them to talk about feelings. That can impact mental health negatively if they don’t have people with whom they can open up.
9. “If they are isolated, they may not eat as well. Having certain, regular connections with others has a bigger impact on physical and mental health than exercise. An article in the Jan. 18, 2018 issue of Forbes says that loneliness has a bigger impact on physical and mental health than exercise, based on a study from Brigham Young University. It said that people who are isolated also don’t eat or sleep as well and may not exercise.
10. “You have to eat properly. If you’re not eating properly, that can impact your physical and mental health. You need the proper balance of foods. Not eating properly automatically can be triggering anxiety and stress.”
• Kimberly Fortin, licensed clinical social worker practicing in Weedsport and owner and cheese maker at Fortin Fish Farm in Weedsport.