There are many causes of women’s longevity, some apparently biological (such as their more resilient immune systems) and some more man-made (such as lower rates of accidental, homicidal, or suicidal death).But the overall survival advantage is an outcome of social dynamics. The Atlantic discusses the factors:
“In the United States, women’s advantage in life expectancy at birth is just less than five years, but it was almost eight years in the 1970s. Demographers have determined that the major driver of the 20th century trend was smoking (there is a similar pattern in much of Europe).
“Smoking is a big issue. More than 80 percent of American men born in 1901 did by the time they were in their thirties, which accounts for the early deaths of millions of men into the 1970s (in the 1950s Americans consumed about 12 pounds of tobacco per person annually, three times current levels). In contrast, young women’s smoking rates never passed 55 percent, and their peak was later, in the 1970s. Since 1965 smoking rates have fallen by more than half, and the gender gap has dropped by more than two-thirds, so women’s survival advantage may narrow further.
“Smoking is a major factor globally, and many countries could be going through what the U.S. did in the last century. The World Health Organization reports that smoking is more common for men than for women in every country except Austria, and in many countries the difference is huge. Continue reading “Why women live longer”
New research published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that vegetarian diets are linked to a slightly lower risk of early death — about 12 percent lower over a period of about six years of follow-up. But the link to longevity was more significant in men compared with women, reports today’s NPR.
“The study is based on a one-time survey of more than 70,000 Seventh-day Adventists, a religion that emphasizes healthful diets and abstaining from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco as part of a godly lifestyle. Not all adherents are vegetarians, but the church considers a meatless diet to be the ideal.
“The participants filled out a questionnaire so that researchers could determine whether they were meat eaters, semi-vegetarian, fish-eating vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarian (consuming meat or fish rarely, and eating eggs/dairy sometimes), or vegans.
“The researchers found that men who were eating vegetarian diets were less likely to die from heart disease and other heart conditions. In women, there were no significant reductions in death from cardiovascular disease. Now, many of us are eating less meat these days owing to environmental, health and animal welfare concerns. Continue reading “Men need more vegetables”
The gap between male and female life expectancy is closing and men could catch up by 2030, according to an adviser for the Office for National Statistics.
“Prof Les Mayhew said the difference between the sexes peaked at nearly six years in the 1970s. Life expectancy is going up all round, but the rates for men are increasing faster.
“Plummeting smoking rates in men are thought to explain a lot of the change. Prof Mayhew, a professor of statistics at Cass Business School, analysed life expectancy data in England and Wales. He was working out how long 30-year-olds could expect to live. Continue reading “Men to live as long as women”