In the United States, the average life expectancy of a woman is 81 years. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For men, it’s 76 years. Around the world, women live longer on average. So why do women tend to live longer than men?
Virginia Zarulli, an associate professor of demography at the University of Southern Denmark, said two of the main causes were biological. The first cause is associated with differences in sex hormones, at least in cisgender people (people whose gender identity matches the biological gender assigned at birth).Cisgender women produce more estrogen Less than testosterone Than a cisgender man.Estrogen provides protection against a variety of illnesses, including: Cardiovascular disease, According to a 2017 study in the journal Gender biology..
High levels of testosterone, on the other hand, are associated with an increased risk of some diseases, such as endometrial cancer and endometrial cancer. breast cancer With a woman Prostate cancer According to a 2020 study in the journal, in men Nature medicine.. Testosterone is also associated with dangerous behavior and higher levels of aggression, which may increase the risk of dying at a younger age, Zarli said.
Relation: Is the Y chromosome dying?
Genetic factors are also involved.Humans have two genders Chromosomes: X and Y. Sithgender women have two X chromosomes, and Sith men have X and Y. “Thinking about it, the Y chromosome is the X chromosome that lacks the leg. It lacks the genetic material,” Zarulli said. “Women have this double X chromosome (extra genetic material), so if, for example, one of the two X chromosomes has a bad mutation, you can make a backup plan. The other X You can live anyway. ”This is the case for the following illnesses: hemophilia, A type of bleeding disorder, and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This gradually weakens the muscles.
According to a 2003 study published in the journal, this biological benefit gives women a little less than a year longer life expectancy in young adults compared to men. Population and development reviews To more than 11,000 Bavarian Catholic nuns and monks who lived between 1890 and 1995. In a harsh religious environment, men and women have similar lifestyles and both men and women avoid dangerous behavior. Therefore, the difference in lifespan is probably biological, Zarli said. However, the difference in total life expectancy is probably even greater, as this study reports life expectancy from young adulthood rather than life expectancy from birth. Zarulli said biology gives women an average life expectancy of about two years.
In addition, according to a 2018 study led by Zarulli and published in the journal, girls are boys when infants are in a particularly high mortality environment and are enslaved, such as during severe famine and epidemics. It has a higher survival rate than. Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences..
But on average, women live four to five years longer than men, Zarulli said. So what explains the remaining survival benefits?
She said social factors play a major role. Men are more likely to smoke and drink alcohol than women. Men are almost twice as likely to drink alcohol as they are, and are more likely to have drunk alcohol in the last 30 days. CDCAccording to the report, 35% of men in the world smoke, compared to 6% of women. Data from the World Bank.. According to a 2020 review of the journal, women are more likely to trust healthy nutrition, and men are more likely to prefer a fatty diet and eat fast food. Advances in clinical and experimental medicine.. Also, according to a 2001 survey, women are 33% more likely to see a doctor than men, except for pregnancy-related care. CDC..
However, it is impossible to completely separate biology from social impact and explain phenomena such as why men behave more dangerously. “Both tend to affect gender differences in life expectancy,” Zarli said. The interaction between the two is “impossible to divide,” she said.
The life expectancy gap wasn’t as wide as it is now. Detailed death records show that women did not consistently live longer than men until the beginning of the 20th century. National Bureau of Economic Research.. Prior to that, infectious diseases were widespread and affected men and women almost equally. In addition, women often died during childbirth.
Since then, life expectancy for women has not necessarily increased further. According to a 2011 report, smoking began to increase the difference between life expectancy and life expectancy in women from the mid-1970s. National Research Council.. By 2005, so many women had started smoking, and women’s lives were on average 2.3 years shorter than expected.
Originally published in Live Science.