Women are more likely to think about their health. Picture: Pixaby
Women are more likely to think about their health. Picture: Pixaby

4 reasons why women live longer than men

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Sep 11, 2020

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Traditionally, men are regarded as the stronger sex. However, when it comes to overall vitality and lifelong endurance, women win hands down.

According to the World Health Organization, women live an average of six to eight years longer than men. So, what can this astounding vitality be attributed to and what can women teach men about keeping the grim reaper at bay?

According to says Greig Jansen, Pura Soda chief executive, there are things women can do to secure lasting health and prolong their lifespan because these small differences go a long way. Here are some of the secrets to living a long and healthy life:

Helpful versus harmful behaviours

In a study published on Psychology Today, researcher David P Schmitt found that women are more likely to engage in prosocial behaviours such as being kind, considerate, empathetic and helpful to others.

They are also less likely than men to take harmful risks. We’re not talking about relatively safe thrills like bungee jumping or sky diving, but dangerous risks like driving while drunk, getting into fights, diving off balconies or dangling from skyscrapers.

This is demonstrated by the fact that 89 percent of Darwin Award recipients are men. To win a Darwin Award, a person must die in "an extraordinarily idiotic manner", and thereby protect the human gene pool and improve the species' chances of long-term survival. These results speak for themselves.

Better safe than sorry

Being tough is often a point of pride for men but shrugging off aches and pains can have serious consequences. Women are more likely to think about their health, get regular check-ups, go to the doctor when they feel unwell and, when diagnosed, they are more likely to follow medical advice and stick to a treatment plan.

Having a macho attitude to one’s health can result in men missing important warning signs, contributing to their tendency to kick the bucket a little sooner than the fairer sex.

Raging hormones

Sex hormones play an essential role in sexual development and reproduction. In women, the primary sex hormone is oestrogen and in men, it is testosterone. These hormones may play a role in overall health.

For example, oestrogen has been shown to have antioxidant properties. In fact, before menopause, coronary heart disease has been observed to be three times lower in women than in men, compelling evidence of the hormone’s protective effect.

Conversely, testosterone has been linked to a shorter lifespan in men. A study recently analysed the detailed records of 81 Korean eunuchs in the 19th century, finding that they lived an average of 20 years longer than the other men in court and were 130 times more likely to celebrate their 100th birthday.

Got a bad habit?

From smoking to drinking too much, women are less likely to have habits that are harmful to their health. According to the World Health Organization, globally about 40 percent of men smoke compared to nearly nine percent of women.

And, of people worldwide with alcohol-use disorders, only 17 percent are women. Both of these vices are linked to an array of negative health consequences including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and cancer.

“So, in the battle of the sexes, kudos goes to women for their overall strength, their good choices and their ability to lead the way towards long and healthy lives. It wouldn’t hurt for us guys to pick up more of their good habits now and again,” says Jansen.

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