Research by Australian scientists shows that a boy born in 2016 can live on average until 80 years old. Meanwhile, a girl born in the same year can live up to 85 years old. Wherever in the world, scientists see a similar difference in life expectancy between the sexes.
When scientists study to better understand why people die, they also know part of the reason why women live longer than men. There are biological elements, behavioral factors that explain this phenomenon
But the surprise is that even scientific advances themselves affect the health of women and men in different ways. So why do women live longer than men?
Causes from biology and behavior
The truth is, while women may live longer than men, they are more likely to suffer from illnesses, see a doctor more and have more hospitalizations. This is called the mortality paradox (meaning women are more ill but live longer).
One explanation for this paradox is that the women are sick, but they are all mild illnesses that are less likely to be lethal.
Examples of non-fatal chronic diseases are more common in women including: migraine, arthritis and asthma. These conditions can lead to a worse health, but do not increase the risk of premature death for women.
In contrast, men tend to be prone to health conditions that can kill them. For example, men often store a lot of fat around their organs (called visceral fat), while women tend to only store more fat under their skin (called subcutaneous fat). ).
Visceral fat is a risk factor for coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death for men. Coronary heart disease, stemming from a combination of biological factors and living habits, is a major reason for the difference in mortality rates between men and women.
Other biological factors can contribute to aging men faster than women. For example, testosterone in men helps them to have a bigger body and a deeper voice. In turn, this can accelerate age-related changes in their bodies when compared to women.
In contrast, women's estrogens act as a protective factor for them. Pre-menopausal women have three times lower rates of coronary heart disease than men. But then, this advantage disappears when the fertility estrogen drops.
At the very least, it's a shield for them for a long time and is proof that endogenous estrogens can protect the health of women.
Not the joke, the real behavior makes men die earlier than women
Scientists have observed that some behaviors can lead to premature death more common in men. Accidental deaths (including those caused by scuffle, poisoning, traffic accidents, falls and drowning) occur especially high among young men aged 15-24.
Men also tend to smoke more, eat less healthy and have less exercise than women. These bad habits often lead to chronic fatal diseases, including stroke and type 2 diabetes, and are also a risk factor for dementia.
Science and public health development
Since humans define women as weak, they seem to be given more protection. Even scientific discoveries can make health policy change in a way that is conducive to women's longevity.
For example, innovations in birth control have allowed us to shrink family size, reduce the frequency and number of births. This has made women more and less pregnant today, thereby less likely to face the risks of childbirth.
On the contrary, they are also better taken care of to improve their physical and mental health. Fewer women die at birth.
Public health programs such as breast cancer screening have had a positive impact on the average life expectancy of women. Similarly, the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer has now been distributed in 130 countries.
Of course, there are similar public health policies and clinical innovations that benefit men, such as bowel cancer screening. But on the common ground, we also see women benefiting more from health and policy advancements. This continues to explain convincingly why they live longer than men.
Both sexes should aim for common goals to have a longer and healthier life together.
Narrow the gap
The life expectancy between men and women decreases as their lifespan increases. In 2016, a boy born in Australia will be expected to live up to 80 years old, 4.2 years less than a baby girl born the same day.
But once both children grow up and get older, the distance drops to 2.7 years at 65, to 1 year at 85 and only 0.3 years when they reach 95 years old. .
This shows that men who live to old age can avoid certain health risks, giving them a greater perspective when it comes to longevity.
Finally, none of us has control over fate, when or for what we will die. But paying attention to the factors that we can change (such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and avoiding smoking) can reduce the risk of early death from possible chronic diseases. prevent.
Although women may always outlive men, but for a year or two, men may try to change some lifestyle factors to reduce their longevity.
That does not mean that women should stop to wait for them. Both sexes should aim at these common goals to have a longer and healthier life together.