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.
This is contained in the WHO yearly analysis of global health statistics titled, World Health Statistics Overview 2019.
The study also 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.
“Whether it’s homicide, road accidents, suicide, cardiovascular disease – time and time again, men are doing worse than women,” Cibulskis notes.
Explaining the differences in life expectancy, WHO says a baby boy born in Africa in 2016 could expect to live to age 60, while a baby girl could expect to live to 63.
The reports says that healthy life expectancy is 66 years for boys and 71 for girls in wealthy countries.
“But in low income countries, women have a greater risk of dying in childbirth; so, the maternal mortality rates skew the figures,” he said.
The reasons for the differences between men and women are three-fold, Cibulskis said, noting that men have an inbuilt “biological frailty” and poor immune systems which explain why more male foetuses are miscarried and why more boys die in their first year of life.
In his discussion of the report, Peter Baker, director of Global Action on Men’s Health, said health services needed to be better designed around men.
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.
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”, the study finds.
The report also finds that of the 40 leading causes of death, 33 of them contribute more significantly to reduced life expectancy in men than in women.
@ Punch Newspaper