Death is a natural part of life, yet it hits many men all too soon because of health problems that could have been prevented through healthy diet and exercise.
In fact, The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published a study that says half of all deaths from cardiometabolic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes have been linked to substandard eating habits. Of those, death rates were higher among men compared to women.
With June being Men’s Health Month, here are the leading causes of death for men and how proper eating and exercise can help you lower your risk of succumbing to one of them.
1. Heart disease
Accounting for an estimated 610,000 deaths each year, the No. 1 killer in the United States is heart disease according research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those deaths, approximately 321,000 were men.
Several health and dietary factors that can impact a man’s risk of heart disease. One NHLBI study found that cardiometabolic conditions like heart disease were linked to excess consumption of sodium, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meats.
Additionally, those in the study did not consume enough of some foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, polyunsaturated fats and seafood omega-3 fats that have positive effects on heart health.
In 2016 an estimated 314,290 men died of cancer according to the American Cancer Society, making it the second-leading cause of death in men in the U.S.
While there are many factors that determine a person’s risk for developing cancer, a healthy lifestyle has been proven to aid in prevention and help during and after cancer treatments. In fact, the Mayo Clinic noted that eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active were key factors in preventing cancer.
The Mayo Clinic staff said specifically to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid obesity, limit processed meats and to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine to aid in cancer prevention.
3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
While heart disease and cancer make up nearly half of all male deaths, chronic lower respiratory diseases characterized as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma, account for 5.2 percent.
Although two of the three major CLRD conditions (chronic bronchitis and emphysema) are irreversible, there are ways to keep your lungs healthy, including exercise.
Along with avoiding smoking, exposure to pollutants and infection, the American Lung Association mentions daily aerobic exercise as something that helps improve lung capacity and overall health.
Approximately 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year, and it causes nearly 130,000 deaths yearly. When considered separately from heart disease, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in men, accounting for 4.2 percent of deaths according to the CDC.
However, much like heart disease, preventative measures can reduce your risk of stroke and behavioral factors can also limit your chance of recurrence and death. In fact, the CDC names healthy diet, healthy weight and physical activity as top preventative steps to take.
The CDC further noted that physical activity can help you stay at a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Additionally, choosing healthy meal options focusing on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can help you prevent stroke.
None of us will live forever, but embracing a healthy lifestyle for the long-haul is a powerful way to limit the likelihood that you’ll face the deadly diseases listed above.
Sinclair Broadcasting is committed to the health and well-being of our viewers, which is why we’re introducing Sinclair Cares. Every month we’ll bring you information about the “Cause of the Month,” including topical information, education, awareness and prevention.