Why Do Women Live Longer than Men?

Question sent by ROBERTO SOLANO. ANA GARCÍA answers:

Women’s life expectancy in developed countries is, indeed, higher. This is due to a combination of biological factors and lifestyle. There is, for instance, oestrogen hormonal protection against the most frequent causes of death, such as cerebrovascular and cardiovascular accidents. Concerning other factors, women have traditionally had healthier lifestyles, less related to toxic elements such as alcohol or tobacco. In any case, we must add that living longer is not necessarily living better.

In other countries, with lower development rates, life expectancy in women is also lower. Some reasons for that are social inequality, discrimination, more deaths in accidents, HIV, giving birth or even suicide.

Ana García. Cap Clínic de Ginecologia. Fundació Institut Valencià d’Oncologia (IVO).

For further information:

Borrás Blasco, C., 2004. «Sexe i longevitat: per què les dones viuen més que els homes?». Mètode, 43: 78-81. (In Catalan and Spanish only).
Organització Mundial de la Salut, 2009. Women and Health: Today’s Evidence Tomorrow’s Agenda.

© Mètode 2013