In nearly all nations of the world, men live shorter lives than women. The gender gap is widest in high-income industrialized nations.
The World Health Organisation has said that, globally, women live longer than men; and that the difference in the male-female lifespan is particularly stark in high-income countries.
in the U.S. male life expectancy was 73.4 years for males and 80.1 years for females, a difference of 6.7 years, whereas in France it was 7.8 years and in the U.K., 5.3 years. The discrepancy was much greater in some countries, with the difference in Russia reaching more than 12 years, but in others, such as India (0.6 year) or Bangladesh (0.1 year), it was much less.
Baby boy born in Africa in 2019 could expect to live to age 60, while a baby girl could expect to live to 63. Healthy life expectancy at birth is 53 for boys and 55 for girls,” noting, “But in Europe, the difference between boys and girls is much greater, as a boy born in 2019 could expect to live to the age of 74 and a girl to the age of 81.”
The biological advantage that women have is taken as a certainty, because the mortality of males is higher than that of females from the very outset of life: during the first year of life, in the absence of any outside influence which could differentiate mortality between the sexes, male mortality is 25 to 30 percent greater than is female mortality.
The female body has to make reserves to accommodate the needs of pregnancy and breast feeding; this ability has been associated with a greater ability to cope with overeating and eliminating excess food.
The World Health Statistics Overview 2019 sheds light on men’s inbuilt “biological frailty” and poor immune systems, which are said to be responsible for the miscarriage of male foetuses and death of male children in their first year of life.
Men are more likely to engage in risky behaviour such as smoking and alcohol consumption, and the fact that men go to the doctor less often than women.
You could take the view that men are a bunch of idiots bent on self destruction but that is not true. Most men in the world don’t smoke or drink at dangerously high levels,” Baker argued.
Meanwhile, apart from the average increase from 66.5 years, to 72 years overall, the report’s findings also show that “healthy” life expectancy – the number of years individuals live in full health – increased from 58.5 years in 2000, to 63.3 years in 2016.
Differing attitudes to healthcare between men and women help to account for the discrepancy in life expectancy between the sexes, the report suggests.
The extraordinary economic and social progress that has occurred since the 18th century has been accompanied by a dramatic reduction of the social differences between men and women and of the burden of motherhood, which had previously negated women’s biological advantage. But the recent mortality trends have gone much farther than the mere recovery of an original advantage, creating instead a new advantage of greater magnitude for women.
Women seek beauty, men seek strength and power; thus, a woman’s body must remain young and healthy as long as possible, whereas a man’s body must be submitted to risks and challenges from an early age. The result is that women, much more than men, are attentive to their bodies and their needs and often carry on deeper dialogs more easily with their doctors.
In countries with generalized HIV epidemics, for example, men “are less likely than women to take an HIV test, less likely to access antiretroviral therapy and more likely to die of AIDS-related illnesses than women”.