Behavioural Science Section / Viewpoint
Do Women Live Longer or Do Men Die Earlier? Reflections on the Causes of Sex Differences in Life ExpectancyLuy M. · Gast K.
Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/OEAW, WU), Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Do you have an account?
- Rent for 48h to view
- Buy Cloud Access for unlimited viewing via different devices
- Synchronizing in the ReadCube Cloud
- Printing and saving restrictions apply
Rental: USD 8.50
Cloud: USD 20.00
Article / Publication Details
Background: Although many different factors have been identified to contribute to excess male mortality, it is still unclear which path of the complex cause-effect chain is the decisive driver of the life expectancy gap between women and men. Objective: The question behind this study is whether these sex differences are caused primarily by factors leading to low female mortality or rather by factors causing high male mortality. We hypothesise that they are to a large extent caused by specific subpopulations of men with particularly high mortality levels that decrease the average life expectancy of men. Methods: To test this hypothesis, we investigate in a meta-analysis the variability in mortality (VM) in women and men - defined as the range of death rates prevailing among subpopulations - in empirical studies analysing specific phenomena of mortality differentials. We used the data of 72 empirical studies, including 146 total effects (TE) and 1,718 single effects (SE) for 21 different risk factors. Results: In 85% of TE and three quarters of SE the VM was higher in men than in women, taking into account men's higher overall mortality. The corresponding figures for the direct differences in the VM between women and men are 92 and 82%, respectively. Cases with higher female VM are rare exceptions and appear in particular in the highest age groups. Conclusions: We find support for our hypothesis that the disproportionate high mortality levels of specific male subpopulations are the central cause of the current extent of sex differences in life expectancy. Thus, public health programmes should be targeted toward these disadvantaged subpopulations among men which seem to be related primarily to socioeconomic characteristics.
© 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel
Article / Publication Details
Copyright / Drug Dosage / DisclaimerCopyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.