Are Men Healthier than Women?

Daily Health Solutions, Sleep
on February 4, 2009

The challenge: Eating well
The winner: Women

No surprise here: Women eat more veggies and less meat than men. While guys naturally need more protein to build and support their extra muscle, meat can be high in saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease and cancer. Lesson learned: Opt for lower-fat proteins like fish, lean meats and poultry. And fill half your plate with veggies; split the other half between whole grains and lean protein.

The challenge: Protecting the heart
The winner: Men

According to the American Heart Association, more than 90 percent of primary care doctors don't know that heart disease kills more women than men each year, which may explain why women are 12 percent more likely to die of a major heart attack at a hospital than men, and less likely to get the medications there that they need. Lesson learned: Exercise, eat a fruit- and vegetable-heavy diet and don't smoke. Plus, keep an eye on your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

The challenge: Managing stress
The winner: It's a tie!

Men and women tend to cope with stress in different ways, and both strategies have merits, says internist and author Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. Women take time to talk about their issues and come up with solutions; men tend to act first, talk later. Lesson learned: Merge the two approaches. Acknowledge you're stressed out, talk about solutions (not endlessly) and then let it go.

The challenge: Staying fit
The winner: Women

Men may be more muscle-bound, but women are master multitaskers in the gym. According to a recent Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association survey, women were "frequent participants" in 14 of 20 fitness categories, compared to just six of 20 for men. Women's regimens are more likely to be a combo of cardio, strength and flexibility. Lesson learned: Mix up your routine by taking a fitness class or playing a new sport.

The challenge: Sleeping soundly
The winner: Men

In a National Sleep Foundation poll, 49 percent of men reported sleeping well most nights compared to 34 percent of women. Women are also more likely to have taken medication to get some shut eye. Lesson learned: Wind down by splitting the hour before bedtime into three 20-minute segments, the first for prepping for the next day, the second for personal care (bath, anyone?) and the third for stretching or reading, suggests Beauty Sleep author Michael Breuss.

The challenge: Tending to teeth
The winner: Women

Women take the proverbial cake on this one: According to the American Dental Association, more gals than guys practice good oral hygiene. It's not just about whiter teeth and fewer cavities. Several studies have linked poor dental health with serious problems like heart disease. Lesson learned: It's simple—brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.

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