Face it, Jack: Jill has the right idea about longevity


Face it, Jack: Jill has the right idea about longevity

Women see the doctor more frequently and take better care of themselves than men

Senior reporter

Women live at least four years longer than men because they take better care of their health.
The latest World Health Organisation’s (WHO) annual World Health Statistics overview has reaffirmed previous data that women outlive men everywhere in the world.
The report – released to coincide with World Health Day on Sunday, April 7 – found that men died earlier than women because they did not take as good care of their health as women.
“Attitudes to health care differ. Where men and women face the same disease, men often seek health care less than women.
“In countries with generalised 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. Similarly, male TB patients appear to be less likely to seek care than female TB patients,” the report stated.
Of the 40 leading causes of death, men have higher death rates than women from 33 risk factors.
Global suicide mortality rates were 75% higher in men than in women in 2016.
Death rates from road injury are more than twice as high in men than in women from age 15, and mortality rates due to homicide are four times higher in men than in women.
The probability of a 30-year-old man dying from a noncommunicable disease – such as heart conditions – before the age of 70, is 44% higher than for a woman of the same age.
“Whether it’s homicide, road accidents, suicide, cardiovascular disease, time and time again, men are doing worse than women,” said the report’s main author Dr Richard Cibulskis.
Although women outlive men around the world, the data shows their life expectancy is sharply reduced as a result of maternal deaths.
One in 41 women dies from maternal causes in poor countries, where access to health services is scarce compared with the one in 3,300 maternal deaths in rich countries.
The World Health Organisation said the new report highlighted the big gap that still existed between rich and poor countries.
“Behind every number in the world health statistics is a person, a family, a community or a nation. Our task is to use these data to make evidence-based policy decisions that move us closer to a healthier, safer, fairer world for everyone,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
One of WHO’s goals is for one billion more people to have universal health coverage by 2023.
“This means improving access to services, especially at community level, and making sure those services are accessible, affordable and effective for everyone – regardless of their gender,” said Ghebreyesus.
Other findings from the World Health Statistics 2019 report are:

Between 2000 and 2016, global life expectancy at birth increased by 5.5 years, from 66.5 to 72.0 years. 
Healthy life expectancy at birth – the number of years one can expect to live in full health – increased from 58.5 years in 2000 to 63.3 years in 2016.
In low-income countries, life expectancy is 18.1 years lower than in high-income countries.
One in every 14 children born in a low-income country will die before their fifth birthday.

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