5 Ways Black Men Can Avoid Early Death


prince dougTwo icons we left within a week of each other: Radio legend Doug Banks and now musical legend, Prince. Both were only 57 years old. Relatively young in all areas of life. While we don’t know the exact cause of death of Prince yet, the ages of these men are like many Black men in America. But why?

Overall, African-American males continue to die younger, with heart disease and homicide shortening their lives. White females have the longest life expectancy at 81.3 years, black females at 78 years, white males at 76.5 years and black males have the shortest at 71.8 years.

Black men’s leading causes of death include familiar standbys: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, suicide, and Alzheimer’s disease.

To reduce your risks of dying from these preventable killers, make these crucial changes in your everyday life:

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Get Married

Numerous surveys have shown that married men, especially men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, are healthier and have lower death rates than those who never married or who are divorced or widowed. Never-married men are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, for example. After 50, divorced men’s health deteriorates rapidly compared to married men’s, found a RAND Center for the Study of Aging report.

What’s the magic in the ring? The social connectedness of marriage may lower stress levels and depression, which lead to chronic illness. (Women tend to have more social ties outside of marriage.)

Unmarried men generally have poorer health habits, too — they drink more, eat worse, get less medical care, and engage in more risky behaviors (think drugs and promiscuous sex). Exception: It’s better to be single than in a strained relationship, probably because of the stress toll, say researchers in Student BMJ.

It’s never too late. Men who marry after 25 tend to live longer than those who wed young. And the longer a fellow stays married, the greater the boost to his well-being.

Try New Foods

Poor nutrition is linked with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer — leading causes of death in men over 40. Younger midlife men often over-rely on red meat, junk food, and fast food to fuel a busy lifestyle, which leads to excess weight, high cholesterol, hypertension, and other risk factors. Men tend to eat the same 20 foods for the majority of their life. Try new vegetables you never tried before or rarely eat!

Older men living alone and alcoholics are vulnerable to malnutrition, because they tend not to prepare healthy food for themselves.

Until around 2000, more women were obese than men — but guys are catching up. In 2010, 35.5 percent of men were obese, up from 27.5 percent in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Dietetic Association recommends a reasonable 2,000 calories a day for men over 50 who are sedentary, up to 2,400 for those who are active. What comprises those calories is up to you.

Treat Depression ASAP

Although women are three times more likely to attempt suicide than men, men are more successful at it, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In 2009, 79 percent of all suicides were men. Suicide rates for men…