Men have shorter lives than women because they are
more prone to heart disease, claims a new study that found
significant differences in life expectancies between the sexes
first emerged as recently as the turn of the 20th century.
Across the entire world, women can expect to live lo8nger
than men. Researchers wondered why does this occur and was
this always the case. According to the study, led by
researchers at the University of Southern California Davis
School of Gerontology, significant differences in life
expectancies between the sexes first emerged as recently as
the turn of the 20th century.
As infectious disease prevention, improved diets and other
positive health behaviours were adopted by people born during
the 1800s and early 1900s, death rates plummeted, but women
began reaping the longevity benefits at a much faster rate.
In the wake of this massive but uneven decrease in mortality,
a review of global data points to heart disease as the
culprit behind most of the excess deaths documented in adult
men, said USC University professor Eileen Crimmins. “We were
surprised at how the divergence in mortality between men and
women, which originated as early as 1870, was concentrated in
the 50-to-70 age range and faded out sharply after age 80.”
pti The study examined the life spans of people born between
1800 and 1935 in 13 developed nations.
Focusing on mortality in adults over the age of 40, the team
found that in individuals born after 1880, female death rates
decreased 70 per cent faster than those of males.
Even when the researchers controlled for smoking-related
illnesses, cardiovascular disease appeared to still be the
cause of the vast majority of excess deaths in adult men over
40 for the same time period.
Surprisingly, smoking accounted for only 30 per cent of the
difference in mortality between the sexes after 1890,
The uneven impact of cardiovascular illness-related deaths on
men, especially during middle and early older age, raises the
question of whether men and women face different heart
disease risks due to inherent biological risks and/or
protective factors at different points in their lives, said
USC University Professor Caleb Finch.