While many health issues affect all aspects of the population, several aspects can be measured by gender-specific differences. Those include life expectancy, lifestyle, and cause of death.
Life expectancy is a statistical measure of the average length of survival of a living thing. It is often calculated separately for differing gender and geographic location. Popularly, it is most often construed to mean the life expectancy at birth for a given human population, which is the same as the expected age at death. However, technically, life expectancy means the expected time remaining to live, and it can be calculated for any age.
Japan has the highest average life expectancy in the world - over 80 years, while Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Zambia all have life expectancy averages under 40 years. In nearly every country, life expectancies at birth are higher for women than they are for men. In OECD countries, women live six years longer than men on average. Typically, this gap between men and women is explained by genetics and lifestyle (men take more risks, work in more physical jobs, etc.).
Since 1960 life expectancies have been rising around the world. According to OECD indicators in "Women and Men in OECD Countries", this increase has been most noticeable in Korea, Turkey, Mexico, Japan and Portugal. More recently, men have been improving their life expectancy rates faster than women. Many believe this is due to decrease in risks taken by men.
Risk is not the only factor affecting the life expectancy rate of men. Men tend to be more unhealthy. More men than women in OECD member countries smoke cigarettes, with Sweden as the only exception. Between 1980 and 2004, the percentage of male smokers in OECD countries has declined, and that decline has been more significant than the decline of women smokers. In 1980, 18% more men than women smoked. In 2004 that gap was down to 7%. But even with the decline, many people are still smoking. The World Health Organisation estimates that over 15 billion cigarettes are smoked each day, a third of those in China alone. And Greece reported in 2004 that 39% of their population smoked daily.
Men also tend to be more overweight than women, although levels of obesity are about equal.In general, data about weight needs examined carefully since most of the information is self-reported. OECD member country data is split between self assessment and actual measurements. It is not surprising then, that the countries with data on actual measurements - Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom - are among the most overweight and obese countries profiled by the OECD.
Cause of Death
Across all populations, there are four main causes of death: cirulatory disease, cancers, respiratory disease, and external causes (such as accidents and suicide). Men are more likely to die from circulatory disease as well as from cancers, although the gender gap is not particularly large in most countries. Mortality rates from circulatory disease are especially high in Eastern Europe while particularly low in France and Japan. Lung cancer is the most deadly cancer for men, while it is only one of the several most deadly cancers for women. Some cancers are also gender specific, such as breast and prostate cancers. Fortunately with more screening and treatment options available, as well as a decrease in tobacco use, we should see cancer rates decline over time.
Pages in category "Health"
The following 156 pages are in this category, out of 156 total.