Higher or Lower?

Our "medical" November starts off with a rather interesting fact about male and female life expectancy. Generally you can say, that the female life expectancy is higher than male life expectancy - everywhere but Afghanistan and Qatar.

But why do women generally live longer than men today, and why has this advantage increased over time? There are biological, behavioral and environmental factors that might all contribute to the fact that women live longer than men. One reason why women live longer than men today, but not in the past, has to do with the fact that some key non-biological factors have changed. What are these changing factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, like the fact that men smoke more often and tend to have more fat surrounding the organs. Both are known health risks.

Other reasons are a bit more complicated. For example, there is evidence that in rich countries the female advantage increased in part because infectious diseases used to affect women disproportionately a century ago, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women’s longevity disproportionately.

Interesting, right?