Why men often die earlier than women

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

My wife recently asked me, “Why do you assume you’ll die before me?”

Her question caught me by surprise. But it’s true, I have made that assumption. So, I answered, as matter-of-factly as I could, with one word: statistics.

I knew that, on average, women live longer than men. In fact, 57% of all those ages 65 and older are female. By age 85, 67% are women. The average lifespan is about 5 years longer for women than men in the U.S., and about 7 years longer worldwide.

It’s not hard to see the gender gap among the elderly. A glance around most nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the U.S. often tells the story: women will usually outnumber men, and the magnitude of the difference is often striking. I’m also told that when a man moves into a residential setting dominated by the geriatric set, he tends to be popular; and that’s especially true if he still drives.

Advertisers know this as well. I recently saw an ad for an organization called “A Place for Mom” that helps families find assisted living or other services for senior citizens. And while they help men as well as women, the name of the company reflects how much bigger the elderly female market is.

So why do men, on average, die first?

There are many reasons why the ratio of men to women (which is roughly equal in young adulthood) starts to favor women over time. Among the most powerful factors? Men tend to

  • take bigger risks. Some of the reason seems to be “biological destiny.” The frontal lobe of the brain — the part that controls judgment and consideration of an action’s consequences — develops more slowly in boys and young men than in their female counterparts. This likely contributes to the fact that far more boys and men die in accidents or due to violence than girls and women. Examples include biking, driving drunk, and homicide. This tendency toward lack of judgment and consideration of consequences may also contribute to detrimental lifestyle decisions among young men, such as smoking or drinking to excess.
  • have more dangerous jobs. Men far outnumber women in some of the riskiest occupations, including military combat, firefighting, and working at construction sites.
  • die of heart disease more often and at a younger age. In fact, men are 50% more likely than women to die of heart disease. The fact that men have lower estrogen levels than women may be part of the reason. But medical risks, such as poorly treated high blood pressure or unfavorable cholesterol levels, may contribute as well.
  • be larger than women. Across many species, larger animals tend to die younger than smaller ones. Although the magnitude of this effect is uncertain in humans, it tends to work against male longevity.
  • commit suicide more often than women. This is true despite the fact that depression is considered more common among women and women make more (non-fatal) suicide attempts. Some attribute this to the tendency for men to avoid seeking care for depression and the cultural norms that discourage men from seeking help for mental illness.
  • be less socially connected. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, people with fewer and weaker social connections (including men) tend to have higher death rates.
  • avoid doctors. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, men are far more likely to skip routine health screens and far less likely than women to have seen a doctor of any kind during the previous year.

The uneven playing field for boys starts early. The Y chromosome tends to develop mutations more often than X chromosomes and the lack of a second X chromosome in men means that X-linked abnormalities among boys are not “masked” by a second, normal version. Survival in the womb is also less reliable for male fetuses (for uncertain, and probably multiple, reasons). Developmental disorders are also more common among boys; some of these could shorten life expectancy.

What we can do to help men live longer

While there’s not much that can be done about some of these factors, others are modifiable. For example, since men tend to avoid medical care far more often than women, getting men to report symptoms (including depression) and go for regular follow-up for chronic medical problems (such as high blood pressure) could counter some of the tendency for them to die younger.

It’s also worth noting that the survival gap between men and women reflects an average tendency among large numbers of people. In fact, plenty of wives predecease their husbands. Individual risk factors (such as smoking, diabetes, or a strong family history of breast cancer) can outweigh the general tendency for women to live longer.

Perhaps we’ll be more successful in the future in avoiding preventable, premature death among men (and women) — and, because many of these efforts will have a bigger impact on men, the gender gap among the elderly may eventually narrow. Until then, my wife and I will do what we can to stay healthy. But, statistics don’t lie. I’ll probably die first.

Comments:

  1. Cliff

    These factors mentioned are mostly unconnected with statistics. For example, how many men actually die from accidents, hazardous jobs, wars, etc., in contrast to women? The only factor connected to statistics is the factor of heart disease, but even that doesn’t tell me how much I can improve my odds by adopting healthier practices. Such statistics would be quite helpful in telling me how to set priorities in terms of taking preventive measures. For instance, if 95% of the difference in longevity is due to higher incidence of heart disease, then I know I should focus most of my energies on that, and not worry so much about not going to the doctor.

    • Lawrence

      While that info maybe available, and at the same time I wish things were that straight forward myself. As one who worked as a scientist I have rarely found anything regarding human behavior to be simple.

      To make statements that are backed by science you must study the change of one variable at a time, however, human behaviors and the motivation behind them, especially ones that effect longevity, are far too complex to study one variable at a time.

      While science tries to come as close as possible to ruling out other variables and there are brilliant strategies applied to do just that, human behavior is just too complex to actually limit most studies to one variable and that create problems with saying things with certainty.

      The fact is the more complex the topic of study, the more complex saying anything definitive gets and thus the more caveats a true answer requires. This is why you should be sceptical when you hear definitive statements made that are more than general guidelines when it concerns human behavior. Often there is really no way to present data to the general public in a straight forward helpful way with out keeping it simple. This is not because scientists believe the public is less intelligent but the answers are often complex even to the expert.

      Unless you address the issues were more than one variable is involved, the caveats, you would over simplifying the truth. Even my attempt to explain the limits of making more than broad general statements or general conclusions in the face of studying a subject that defies the constraint of a single variable is starting to feel too complex.

      You often hear a scientist say after a big discovery that “for every question we answered we found many more questions to ask.” These questions have to do with the caveats, which are when multiple variables are at play. When this is the case cause and effect are truly unknown. One variable like men not seeking medical help is compounded by a second variable like the genetic of boys having an XY chromosome and girls having a XX chromosome. Just think how the complexity would grow more and more unwieldy as the number of variables at play increase and you suddenly see why scientists struggle to make more than general conclusions in a short news article. Saying or implying more from a study without explaining the caveats or cases where more things are at play and explaining the limitations of a study is considered both unethical as well as unscientific.

      All this to say while I and most other scientists hope studies come out with info presented in ways that are directly applicable to people’s lives and presented in ways that are easier to make decisions like you requested, there are often real scientific and ethical reasons why they do not.

  2. Haidari

    Honestly women care children than men, when women die before man you can experience, children being dirty, house and sometimes even selling some properties

  3. Drew Young

    Paul’s fun comment that we die before our wives because we want to is the punch line to a decades old joke, a joke that perhaps survives because it has a kernel of truth. My brother once brought home a hardbound book, much read, underlined and with dog eared pages, entitled “How to Lie With Statistics”. He retired early, very successful man; as I was going into law I paid the book no attention. Drew Young

  4. Fred templeman

    Men are often defined by society and often define themselves by their occupation and their productivity. As they age, they become less productive and while they may possess power beyond the age of their greatest productivity, eventually, that wanes as well. When a man has less to live for, he probably lives a little less longer. Women, by comparison, are lifelong nuturers and the rewards of that activity continue to be harvested long past fertility.
    Fred

  5. Peter Burford

    No one will agree with this but just because you are in the minority, that does not mean that you are wrong.
    I live my life by decisions: you make a decision, never revisit the circumstances and never look back. I had cancer twice, treated it as an attention getting syndrome, had a bone marrow transplant twenty one years ago and here I am. I used to have what folks call depression / anxiety. I got sick of the drama and decided that there was nothing wrong with me and within a few months there was not. After a mishap I had a mallet finger: fixed that myself as well.
    As for longevity, I am 71 (male) I will live into my nineties, I am planning for that and am making provisions. If I was asked to be specific I would say 93 to 95. You may think it is a pipe dream but my decisions are absorbed into my life. What I decide actually happens. There are other examples as well. Although, if you do not know single mindedness is then you may have a problem,

    • Alex Lasco

      Thank you very much Peter for this comment. I am 34 on the other hand and also wanna live long 🙂
      Your words “I live my life by decisions: you make a decision, never revisit the circumstances and never look back. I used to have what folks call depression / anxiety. I got sick of the drama and decided that there was nothing wrong with me and within a few months there was not. You may think it is a pipe dream but my decisions are absorbed into my life. What I decide actually happens” really made think and I wanted to ask you how you have come to this understanding in life and why you think things do happen in your life when you decide.
      I basically want to understand your mindset and how to operate in such a mindset.

      Thank you very much in advance.

      By the way, I do concur with you that being in the minority doesn’t mean you are wrong, on the other hand, it may actually mean you are right!

    • Lawrence

      I get it weather you believe you can or you believe you can not you will probably be right.

      I think it is more than singleminded though. It is also recognizing the mind body connection. But it is still not that simple. Some people have ability that are stronger than others. I am singleminded, persistent and never give up but I have never been able to see my chronic pain as mind over matter and not for lack of effort. Even decades of mindfulness meditation practice has not helped.

      However up until I had health issues I solved many problems just like you described. I put all excuses, self doubts or whatever mind trap was in my way and succeeded for the first 30 years of my life. When I started getting Fibromyalgia I had finally found what I was good at as well as a true sense of self worth that went beyond my job. I was the most social I had ever been and I was in the best shape of my life even though I had a scholarship for gymnastics in college. At 30 I worked out vigorously for over 10 hours a week. I mixed gymnastics strength training, running, full court basketball, volleyball, hiking and biking. Yet now I am 48 unable to work, my wife who
      I love left me and I unable to take care of my toddler for nowhere as long as I would like and If it was as simple as mind over matter I would not be writing.

      My ability to push myself through pain was unquestionable until I got Fibromyalgia. It is poorly understood but I believe science will show there are changes to the brain that change the way my body interprets pain.

      Over 18 years I have fought a battle with it and unlike the first thirty years of my life I have never fought so hard and failed so bad at anything in my life.

      You have a gift in mind body connection that few are your equal, while I do not discourage people to take heart in your words I would caution you to realize everyone may not be able to achieve the same results as you have.

      It was long after I started losing my health that I realized maybe it was possible that I had abilities and achieved things that I thought anyone could do if they just put their mind to it. I never thought myself as gifted but achieved things others did not because I believe I could.

      Even when the doctors told me there was little that could be done I did not believe them and a part of me still does not want to except that my quality of life has become quite low and still I believe a day will come that I will be better. Yet, my life has not played out like I envisioned it would despite my single-mindedness.

  6. Vicki Lindner

    I think women may begin life feeling more vulnerable and therefore inform themselves and pay more attention to health and fitness issues. I live with a man who is 73, a couple of years older than me. I have to remind him to swim, go to yoga, swim, walk, to engage in exercise that isn’t task-related, like fixing things. Although I tend to cook healthy low fat food, and not too much meat, whenever we go to a restaurant he orders what he wants. I have to say, “Sausage? NO!” I am constantly pointing this out to him, you could say “nagging,” and I have made some significant headway. But I have to keep reminding him. Another friend of mine says her husband, who has gained a lot of weight, is exactly the same.

  7. Chuck Balzer

    In agreement with another person commenting; menstruation in under appreciated in this discussion. Women of childbearing age are naturally dumping pro-oxidant iron monthly. Virtually all (major) disease comes down to inflammation oxidation at the cellular level.

  8. Dr. Naseem Akhtar Qureshi

    “Those whom HE loves Die young” is a saying by philosophers. Almighty God hates women and so they die latter than men. Statistics is dumb and useless and fabricated by people with invested interests since long long time.

    • Andrea Daniel

      What a stupid comment coming from a doctor.. I agree with Dr Robert Schmerling statistics don’t lie.

      • Dammi

        Can’t agree with your view about the above comment from a “doctor”!! Too stupid even for a misogynistic high school teenager (some are like that at that age, you know) let alone a doctor!!!

    • M S Lind

      Wow! If you are a medical doctor I sure hope that you do not treat women in your practice. And women, if your doctor shares this name, I would take steps to vet him to insure that this is not his personal and professional belief as your health may be at risk.

    • Chika

      I must say you are wrong brother. God loves women and men as well. I’m a woman and I’m proud to be a woman. God loves me!

  9. Jill Reading

    Perhaps men committing suicide more often than women is due, in an instrumental sense, to the other factors mentioned – they take higher risks, and they have more dangerous jobs, such as fitefighting. A possible implication is that.men have more control over the technologies of violence, that they’re more competent with self-harming instruments and that they might be more competent to judge a dose or force. Women conventionally are more practised at supporting life than destroying it.

  10. Iweh

    The greater love most children show their mothers more than the fathers could psychologically promote the life of mothers as compared to the male counterpart.

  11. Ramakrishnan

    It is also observed that women with more children live longer (if they do not meet with the labour-related death) than others with less children.

  12. Pam

    I disagree that men die more from homicide than girls or women. Studies I’ve read indicate more women die from violent crimes.

  13. Lien

    Simple logic; Women have a simple but amazing system that helps them get rid of toxins naturally every month for close to 35 years of their life. Less intoxicated system = longer life. Now some scientist should check into that!

  14. Lisa Churchville

    For most of human history, women died first … in childbirth. Reproductive freedom – less than 100 years old, has really changed women’s lifespans, quality of life, financial self-reliance and aspirations.

  15. phillip smith

    Men don’t work at keeping fit as much as women do. Notice that almost all of the “health and fitness” publications show women—rarely men– on the covers?

    • Doug Garfinkel

      You may be mistaken in several ways

      1) People on magazine covers reflect the target buyer of the magazine. There might or might not be a correlation between the number of people buying magazines and the number of people actually keeping fit
      2) Notice that the people on the magazines don’t reflect the older population and generally underrepresent minorities and the disabled as well
      3) Only a tiny percentage of men or women buy fitness magazines. If the majority of the population doesn’t have a regular fitness routine, then the fitness of a small minority won’t make a good proxy for analyzing fitness

  16. helder sufiano

    a corrrection: …….#that the female,s heart tend to become strong along the years!!!! this i a scientifc proved fact………by the medical comunity…… therefore woman live long than man………………

  17. helder sufiano

    one key factor that most ordinary do not know,,…….. but doctores do know..!!!……… is the females,s heatr tends to grow stronger the older they get!!!!….. this i a scientific fact proved!!!!

  18. Frank

    I think you are overlooking one quite obvious cause . . . Wives . . . ! (O: }

  19. Joseph Acquah

    The survival of the species is dependent on females !

  20. Tricia Reeves

    Would someone who has access to the relevant statistics check this: I think I read that while for many years the life expectancy for women at a given age is longer than that for men, at some advanced age, perhaps somewhere in the eighties, it switches and life expectancy for men get a bit higher than that for women.

    • Robert Aponte

      It may be that because men die off so much more than do women, at all ages, that by the time the elders reach that ripe old age of ninety-ish, the fewer men still around are an especially hardy bunch?

  21. W. Charles True

    At all stages of life, more women attend churches than men. This spiritual activities may bring happier and longer lives.

    • Roi

      That sounds like something someone would say if the weren’t an Agnostic or Atheist. Plenty of us live long healthy lives without the need for religious dogma. In fact, you might want to read Christopher Hitchen’s NY Times best seller; “GOD IS NOT GREAT – Religion Poisons Everything”

      • Pat

        Most churches create community.

      • Alex Lasco

        Roi, I fully agree with Christopher’s subtitle “religion poisons everything”, yet I respectfully disagree with the main title “God is not great”.
        “Plenty of us live long healthy lives without the need for religious dogma.” Roi, I do agree that on the surface it seems that many enjoy a healthy life. Yet, according to history and present experience, and observation by some of the leading thinkers of our age such as Viktor Frankl, the Existential void, that is, the Materialistic worldview produces in the long run terrible Fruit: War, Suicide, Alcohol/Drug/ Abuse, gambling, infidelity, depression etc. Lack of meaning in life leads ultimately to emptiness.
        Many millions find themselves in the gutter of life because they have not tasted the Revelation “Who am I”, “Why am I here”, “Where am I going”. The Manufacturer of the human race knows exactly the Purpose and Meaning of Life on Earth. If you go to Him, you will get the answers to those Eternal Questions. Christ has come to earth to live a perfect sin-free life and died on the cross to pay the sin-debt, so that we as human being can be restored to true Freedom and Purpose for our Creation.
        (by the way, if you are interested, or other readers, in the questions of Purpose and Vision for their lives, I recommend reading and studying Myles Munroe’s books “In Pursuit of Purpose”, “the Spirit of Leadership”, “the Principles and Power of Vision”)

        I grew up in the Soviet Union for my 1st 19 years. I grew up as a person of no religion. I lived a rather typical life many young people live: lust for sex without responsibility, fun, parties, drugs, alcohol, sports, cars, $ and many such vain pursuits that brought many near death experiences”
        I am in my mid 30s now and have come to understand the big difference between “religion” and “real faith/trust in Christ Jesus”.

        Religion was the 1st step toward God, but it almost ruined my marriage and relationship with my kids, because it brought out the worst in me and caused much pain and suffering. Religion puts such a burden on people to follow all these impossible rules every day and eventually you become so hardened and frustrated that you rebel against it and your failure to live up to the established standards plunges you into depression, bitterness, blaming everyone, strips one of the sense of responsibility etc.

        But, on the other hand, the relationship with Jesus has rescued my marriage and continues to prosper my life. After sincerely acknowledging my inability to follow all the rules, I have opened up my heart to Him and began to absorb His teaching from the Scriptures. Slowly but surely I sensed a healing coming to me and my relationships. My pride is being replaced with humility, my domineering attitude is being replaced with serving my family and people around me. My fear that I can’t obey all His commandments is being replaced by His grace that I can and am able to live godly in this life etc. It is truly heaven on earth.

        Jesus essentially had only one group of opponents in His day: the religious leaders (Pharisees, sadducees).

        Why only religious people opposed Christ?

        Because Jesus brought the True Freedom from the Burden of Sin and a real relationship with God, which brought genuine healing from hatred, bitterness, lust for sex, money, or power, physical healing, emotional healing, restoration of broken relationships etc.

        But this True Freedom caused people to be Independent from the Ritualistic Religion of man-made rules and Independent from the “guidance” of so called “Fathers”. This brought about first of all a Big hit of the Pride of Pharisees and caused a big Financial loss. They hated Jesus for this and that is why ended up crucifying Him.

        So it is today. Man-made and Man-centered religion destroys people, but the Christ-centered relationship builds up people and creates genuine and lasting relationships and mutual love and respect.

        The result?

        A healthy community of people who replaced hatred with love, lust for pleasure and power with genuine pursuit of purpose and meaning.

        In one word: Heaven on Earth, just like Jesus taught us to pray “Thine Kingdom come on Earth, just as it is in Heaven”. The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of the heart: righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14).

    • Cal Moore

      I am now 80; my dad died from untreated hypertension at 49. Recognizing I have the same HP problem, I have kept BP below 140/90 through meds, diet, exercise, and driving a high school bus for the past 14 years (keeps your mind challenged). Also I have avoided the many risky lifestyle activities following my strong relationship with Jesus Christ which spills over into my relationship helping others – both teens and adults. It all fits together in a win-win combination.

  22. paul

    Most men die before their wives because they want to

  23. Celia Harrison

    Men do not die of heart disease more than women. From the CDC’s website, “Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.” http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_women_heart.htm

  24. Robyn Kingsfield

    I believe that the stress of providing for a family kills men at a younger age. Although most married woman are now part of the workforce, in most cases, they still don’t earn the largest portion of the families’ economic sustenance. Their work is often a “second” income which can end upon starting a family, with fewer dire consequences than if the husband should choose to quit working. Oftentimes it is the man that feels he must hold down two jobs when expenses increase.

    • aviran enkawa

      according to this logic, more single mothers die at younger ages than married ones! Is this true? I don’t know any statistics in this area.

    • Claudia

      I am a single mom. I had to work some times even 3 jobs. I agree with Robyn’s comments. I have 6 sisters and all look fab and feel great, because they have always had a husband or a provider thought they all have professions and had /have worked. The men in their lives have been their real support. And I agree with Paul (comment above “Most men die before their wives because they want to”)
      If men want to die , they DO, as if they had ‘accomplished’ what they came to life for.

  25. Ralph Wanger

    Until 1860 or so, one “hazardous occupation” was childbearing. Women died in horrific numbers. Sanitation in hospitals controlled that, and pregnancies/woman dropped too, so women’s longevity improved. Then smoking was invented, and more men than women smoked, so men’s longevity rose less. All these statistics depend on these cultural changes.
    Statistical techniques matter too. For instance, millions of female fetuses are selectively aborted every year, but these deaths are not counted in longevity statistics.
    conclusion: the stats will continue to evolve in unpredictable ways.

    • Judy Lynn

      Ralph,
      I agree with you about “stats” and how they can be misused or conversely, used to prove seemingly valid points when all contributing factors have not been considered. The best point this article may have proved was the need to follow healthy routines which include appropriate medical care, and to know yourself plus your family history and use it as a combined tool to make informed choices with your personal longevity as a goal. To dwell on it would be a mistake though.

  26. Al

    Thank you for a thought-provoking piece.

    The population over 85 yrs old, included males drafted into service during WW2 and Vietnam which likely had significant longterm effects (Agent Orange, PTSD, etc.)

    It will be interesting to see the result for people born in 1950 rather than 1930. Especially with women now far more stressed by being in the workforce.

    Did you consider the impact of passive aggressive “nag” factor and women’s seemingly better longterm memory?

    On a serious note there is domestic abuse directed at women which should be included as a factor. When you mention that larger mammals have a disdvantage, I am not clear that is true. Humans outlive rabbits, dogs, etc.

  27. charles parker

    also factors are height (over 6 feet) and playing sports such as basketball, boxing and football.

  28. Stephen Turner

    The general drift of marketing targets the most profitable area. If women are are the largest target, they are the target. Marketing towards women, men don’t find very interesting. Men die of boredom.
    This has been the success of taking the market economy and turning it into the market society. Though it only continues the notion since men went out to hunt or to war, to relieve boredom, that men are the expendable component . That’s why mens sports, mens hunting and men’s wars are publicised so much. To notify prospective mates of the the best adapted. WE developed the market then the market developed us.

  29. Ananda

    Not long ago, cavemen fall off the cliff, eaten by animals while trying to gather food for the cavewomen.
    Sperm donors kill each other while fighting over the egg carrier.
    Animals.
    Has any study been conducted on homosexual population?

  30. Kelley Watson

    Until the inception of ObamaCare, women were charged far more for health insurance than men, even with the exclusion of maternity coverage. the market penalized women for taking charge of their health care , punishing them for longevity. The profits over people health care mentality in the United states would rather see us all dead than living long, happy, lives. Maybe the solution lies in substituting good for greed.

    • John

      It has nothing to do with politics. As a supervisor, male employees rarely used their sick days. My female employees used their medical benefits considerably more. Females routinely missed work for all manner of medical issues. Insurance costs more for women because women use the healthcare system much more than men.

      • Andrea

        Under-utilization of healthcare doesn’t always mean better health or less cost. If men use less resources and see a physician less often they are also more likely to have worse outcomes and need more intensive procedures when do have health issues.

      • Kate

        People who don’t use their sick days tend to make others sick.

      • Judy

        John, did your female employees receive unfavorable treatment or were they passed over for promotions or pay raises due to your perceived overuse of the health care system and absences to stay well or take care of sickness?
        My former 21 female employees would rather not miss work but I encouraged them to take care of themselves because it meant an overall more productive, healthier and happy work environment.
        Yes, I’m guilty of being overprotective of my former wonderful group of ladies.

  31. Nancy

    Joe – it is only recently that the government has focused on women’s healthcare. Especially in the area of heart disease, mostly all of the studies focused on men. To this day, many women believe that their greatest longevity problem is dying from breast cancer. However, heart disease is the leading cause of death among older women. Maybe there are more studies focusing on women now because we need to catch up.
    I think the reasons cited by this study have a lot of validity as to why men die younger than women. The good news is that life expectancy has increased for both men and women

  32. Ned Block

    115 male fetuses are conceived for every 100 female fetuses but there are only 104 male babies born for every 100 female babies. Male humans die at a higher rate at every age even before any of the factors mentioned in this article obtain.

  33. Ram Upadhyay

    Since evolution of humans, the male population had been fighting each other for various type of wealth like women, wine, wealth, power, command and getting killed. Men had been fighting for possessing women and protecting them. And the result was one will kill many men to keep many women in captivity. Some day, when that man becomes weaker, the other will kill him and become owner of the women possession. Thus the women were surviving longer and the men less. Due this phenomenon, the genetics of men became such to live less than women. And the women genetics developed to live longer.

  34. Shaun

    Research has indicated that the main contributing factor is higher cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality in men. In Europe male mortality is on decline and the gender gap in life expectancy is becoming smaller. Apparently trends in Iceland and in other Scandinavian countries indicate that by the year 2050 men will live as long as women.

  35. Joe

    Another reason I believe is important to address is societal’s view (perhaps subconscious view) that men are deemed disposable. Why is it that government initiatives on health always center on women? In the US we have several commissions on women (and girls) health but none for men. There are government sponsored and funded (government) websites for women and girls – such as womenshealth.gov and even girlshealth.gov but if you try to access menshealth.gov you’ll get stuck with a 404 Error “page not found”. But why would a government that caters to the notion that males and females are equal and should be equal NOT even have a corresponding health site for boys (boyshealth.gov)? That’s just beyond insane and outright discrimination. So yea, men here do die earlier and a lot of it is by design.

    • Ingrid Hemphill

      Women’s studies have just started. Previous studies were only for men because of fears of harming the unborn. If you are looking for information consider exploring comparative studies ( comparing men to women).

      • Judy Kitt

        Ironically, the fact that clinical studies once targetted men actually validates Joe’s point about “male disposability”. They were essentially lab rats testing new drugs – often exploited by the lure of monetary compensation while assuming significant risk. The tide only turned now that government has mandated safer trial designs and by mitigating the legal risks that a botched trial can have on a megalithic pharma corp.

    • Doug Garfinkel

      You might need to search more carefully:

      http://www.cdc.gov/men/

      http://www.womenshealth.gov/mens-health/

      http://www.cdc.gov/men/nmhw/

      http://healthfinder.gov/FindServices/SearchContext.aspx?topic=542

      http://www.cdc.gov/men/nmhw/

      These are just a few of the many excellent government health sites for men.

      Historically, most health studies focused either on male only cohorts or on mixed cisgender cohorts. It may still be the case that many male focused studies are described as “studies” without specifying that they are male focused because of accidental bias in language choice.

      • Judy Kitt

        I think you missed the point of Joe’s comment. The point is why wouldn’t there ALSO have a menshealth.gov or a boyshealth.gov? There are probably thousands of sites for all demographics but the fact that the focus is predominantly on women – is sexist.