5 Reasons Why Men Die Earlier Than Women, On Average

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While life expectancy is improving globally, there is a widening gap between men and women.

Nigeria, for example, life expectancy at birth has increased by nearly 10 years in the past two decades, reaching 63.4 years in 2021, according to the World Health Organization. However, the average life expectancy for Nigerian men remains significantly lower at 52.68 years.

This disparity is not unique to Nigeria. The gap is even wider in developed countries like Germany and the US. In 2022, German men had an average life expectancy of just over 78 years, while women lived to an average of 82.8 years. Similarly, in the US, the gap reached a worrying 5.8 years in 2021, with women living 79 years on average compared to 73 years for men. This is the largest gap since 1996.

Here are the factors leading to men’s early deaths:

1. Higher suicide rates

Researchers refer to the reason men and husbands die first as “deaths of despair”—lives taken by suicide, drug addiction, or violent crime. Three times as many men as women take their own lives through suicide. In the US, about 70% of suicide-related fatalities in 2018 involved men.

Men are also disproportionately affected by mental health disorders because of the stigma associated with getting treatment for their mental health.

2. Heart Disease

The male sex hormone testosterone is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Men are 50% more likely to die from it, and they tend to develop it earlier in life. This is usually brought on by behaviour issues that men get involved in, like drinking and smoking, stress, elevated blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

3. Dangerous occupations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the risk of a man dying at work is ten times higher than that of a woman.

Men predominate in the most risky jobs all over the world. These jobs include maintenance and repair personnel, machine operators, firefighters, and construction labourers.

4. Poor diet and lack of exercise

Men are half as likely as women to keep up a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. To live long, everyone has to eat well and exercise, but men do not.

A paper published in Research Gate showed that men eat more red meat, pork, sausages, eggs, alcohol, and foods high in sucrose than women do. Women eat more fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk, dairy products, and whole grains.

It has been demonstrated that both lower the chance of developing long-term illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

5. Lack of frequent health checkups

Different studies have shown that men are less likely to visit a hospital when feeling sick when compared to women. It could be that men are taught to ignore and bear suffering and not show any sign of weakness.

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