Why Focusing on Men's Health Matters

Key Takeaway: Male Life Expectancy is Five Years Shorter than Women on Average

Neglecting your mental and physical health can lead to serious health issues. However, scheduling regular checkups and screenings helps catch health issues before they become serious, which can mean a longer, healthier life.

Why it matters: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the gender health gap and its consequences are real, with men dying five years earlier than women on average.1 The most common health conditions men face that lead to early death include heart disease and cancer.2

The good news: There's a lot you can do to take control of your health and it begins with making it a priority.

  • Control your weight. Belly fat increases the risk of heart disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, sleep apnea and high blood pressure.3 And according to a study conducted in Denmark of men ages 60 to 74, as men's waistlines grew, their quality of life and sense of well-being decreased dramatically.4 A healthy diet, 30 or more minutes of daily physical activity and seven to nine hours of sleep a night can help keep belly fat away. You can also try these Health Net programs:
    • Health Coaching Program (telephonic) — Receive one-one personalized support by phone with a Health Coach. You and your coach will discuss what to expect when trying to make lifestyle changes, explore what motivates you to improve your health, and address specific health behaviors that affect short-term health risks and long-term goals. Get started now!
    • Digital Health Coaching Program — (Lessons) This program consists of multiple programs related to exercise, weight and more! You'll work on your own to complete each lesson, which will take 14-21 days to complete depending on which lesson you participate in. Learn more now.
  • Protect your heart. Heart disease is the number one killer of men in the United States.5 Protect your heart by eating a diet low in saturated fat and sugar, and regular exercise. And if you're a smoker, think about accessing the no-cost Craving to Quit smoking cessation plan at Health Net.
  • Lower your risk of cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States,6 and men are more likely than women to develop some type of cancer during their lifetime.7 Increase your odds by protecting yourself against cancer — eat a healthy diet, exercise, avoid smoking, and get regular health screenings.
  • Reduce stress and anxiety. Chronic stress can affect your health and well-being in several ways — lowering your immune system response, making you more susceptible to infection, spiking your blood pressure and causing premature aging.8 You can reduce your stress and anxiety by identifying what stresses you and then developing strategies to help you cope with those situations.

A few things to do now: Check out Health Net's preventive screening guidelines by your age group (PDF). And, review the free Health Net Wellness resources available to you.

Do your body a favor and schedule an annual physical exam. Preventive care is covered at no cost to you when you see a UC Blue & Gold HMO provider, which includes UC Health providers.

Health Net of California, Inc., is a subsidiary of Health Net, LLC. Health Net is a registered service mark of Health Net, LLC. All other identified trademarks/service marks remain the property of their respective companies. All rights reserved.

1 Source: National Vital Statistics System Factsheet (PDF), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
2 Source: 6 Top Health Threats to Men, WebMD
3 Source: Belly fat in men: Why weight loss matters, Mayo Clinic
4 Source: The relationship between health-related quality of life, obesity and testosterone levels in older men, Oxford Academic
5 Source: Men and Heart Disease, CDC
6 Source: An Update on Cancer Deaths in the United States, CDC
7 Source: Why Is Cancer More Common in Men?, Harvard Magazine
8 Source: What Happens When Your Immune System Gets Stressed Out?, Cleveland Clinic

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