Why the longevity gap between men and women is widening

an elderly couple walking in the park while holding hands, viewed from behind

April 22, 2024 – Men have increasingly shorter lifespans compared to women, in part due to preventable deaths, according to experts.

An April 5 article in GQ featured research about disproportionate deaths in men, including one study by researchers at UC San Francisco and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“I was shocked to see that the risk for cardiovascular disease is 80% higher for men than for women,” said Alan Geller, senior lecturer on social and behavioral sciences at Harvard Chan School, one of the study co-authors. He explained that a major reason for the trend is that men use tobacco more than women, a risk factor for heart disease.

Geller also noted that the risks for other causes of death can be reduced through behavioral changes. “Two out of every three melanoma deaths are in men. This is so fascinating because it is more due to behavior than biology,” he said. For instance, men are less likely than women to wear sunscreen and see doctors for checkups.

Read the GQ article: The Longevity Gap Between Men and Women Is Getting Bigger. Here’s Why.

Learn more

U.S. men die nearly six years before women, as life expectancy gap widens (Harvard Chan School news)

Jay Lau

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