June is Men’s Health Month – a perfect reminder for men to make wellness a priority. Many men take care of their health, but additional work is needed to keep more men healthy.

The statistics for men’s health are alarming. For men, life expectancy is 76.3 years; for women, it’s 81.2 years. Nearly 71 percent of men are at risk of being overweight or obese, compared to 59 percent for women. Far more women than men are likely to go to a physician office visit.

These statistics may be worrisome for men and their loved ones, but many of the health risks men face can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting recommended and timely preventive health screenings.

Men’s Health Month is a reminder for men to learn the biggest threats to their health and take charge of their health. Here are a few lifestyle changes that can help men of all ages get and stay healthy:

• Physical activity. According to Arizona Department of Health Services, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men both nationally, and in Arizona. Regular physical activity can control weight, reduce risks of developing heart disease, and can improve overall mental health and mood.

• Healthy diet. Another important priority is nutrition. We encourage patients to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, and limit foods and drinks high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and alcohol.

• Using sunscreen. Don’t overlook the importance of using sunscreen. Skin cancer joins heart disease as the top two leading causes of death for men of all races – and it’s mostly preventable with proper skin care.

• Over the counter prescriptions. All patients need to work with their doctors to get a full understanding of the purpose and side effects of the prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and supplements they take.

• Manage stress and depression. It’s important for men and those close to them to be aware of the warning signs for depression. If you are feeling stressed, your immune system may be affected. 

Men’s National Health Month is a reminder for men to take a proactive approach to their health. If you or the men in your life are not making positive health choices, now is the perfect time to take charge of your health. More information is available at optumcare.com/menshealth.


Dr. Barry Freeman is the senior medical director for OptumCare Arizona.