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Healthy Habits for Men

Charlyn Fargo on

If you're like me, you worry about the men in your life developing prostate cancer, just like they worry about the women in their life developing breast cancer.

While our genes play a big role in the risk for prostate cancer, a new study finds a healthy lifestyle can make a difference in whether you die from it. Researchers found that among men who had an increased risk for prostate cancer, those who maintained a healthy lifestyle were much less likely to die of prostate cancer over nearly three decades.

And just what is a healthy lifestyle? Exercising regularly, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, choosing fish over processed meat and eating tomato products (rich in lycopene), according to researchers.

Men who followed the healthy life prescription had a 1.6% lifetime risk of dying from prostate cancer compared to a 5.3% chance among men with unhealthy habits.

The study was published in the journal European Urology and involved over 12,000 men. All were health professionals who, starting in the 1980s, completed questionnaires on their health and lifestyle habits. Blood samples were also analyzed for genetic data. Over 27 years, 3,000 developed prostate cancer and 435 died from it. Men with genetic risk scores in the top 25% were four times more likely to die of the disease. But those whose lives included four of six healthy lifestyle factors cut their odds of dying from prostate cancer by 45% versus men who adhered to less than four.

Participants were given a point for each of six healthy lifestyle factors: keeping weight below the obesity cutoff; regularly getting vigorous exercise like jogging; not smoking; eating fatty fish (like salmon); eating tomato products; and limiting processed meats (like bacon and sausage).

 

Researchers wrote that of all the lifestyle habits, exercise was the most important, followed by maintaining a healthy weight.

That's good advice for all of us: keep moving and maintain a healthy weight.

Q and A

Q: Do I need to eat differently in the summer than the winter?

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