Women live longer than men

July 20 2015No Commented

Categorized Under: Healthy eating, Healthy lifestyle

I listened to Paul Henry and Michelle Dickinson, Nanotech Scientist from Auckland University, talk this morning about how it is
Widely accepted and scientifically supported that women live longer than men.

Paul told us he hypothesized a long time ago about the reason why Women lived longer than men (and not just in New Zealand) and he believes it is that men will work, work, work hard all of their lives and then retire and once they retire, they stop doing things and almost shut down.  He believes that for a lot of men, this stopping what they have done their whole working lives and now, not having as much of a purpose in life, is the reason why many only live a short period of time after their retirement.

Michelle told us this is just one theory.ikigai

She told us how in a study, they looked at people who were over the age of 100 years.  She said there are a lot of groups of people in Japan who have lived to over 100 years of age.  She talked about how in the culture of Okinawa, they talk of Ikigai.  She said this interprets to “a reason to get up in the morning”, so “your purpose in life &/or a reason to enjoy life”.

Michelle said ” So if your Ikigai is really strong, say because you have family support you are giving and say you are looking after grandchildren, then you live longer, because you have a strong purpose in life”.

She compared this to a person who may retire and who doesn’t tend to do much, so they do not have a strong purpose in life, and for many, they seem to die sooner than those who stay busy.

She then went on to talk about a PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) study that said that the reason women live longer than men was to do with the fact that people smoke and to do with heart disease.

Michelle said that she puts it down to three reasons why men have a shorter life than women.  These are:

1.  Heart Disease.  She said one of the main reasons for this is diet.  She told us ” Back in the 1870s, men and women lived the same length of time.  There wasn’t these large discrepancies like there are now.  But since the use of antibiotics and with people generally living longer, it was noticed that men started dieting a lot sooner than women”.  She said that the reason for this was to do with heart disease and smoking.  She said ” Men generally smoke more and eat a higher fat diet to women and they tend to have higher LDL cholesterol levels.  She went on to say that they tend to be apple shaped, carrying the fat around their abdomen – which affects abdominal organs, more than pear shaped like women, who tend to carry their fat around their hips”.   She said it is not about How much fat you have, but Where you carry the fat.

She went on to say that only 30% of your death prediction is due to genetics, the other 70% is How you live your life and look after yourself.

2.  Going to the doctor.  Michelle told us that women go to the doctor 33% more than men do.  She said “This means that if a women DOES have something wrong with her, the likelihood of this being caught early and then treated is greater, so there is a higher success rate in their treatment”.  She told us that 28% of men DO NOT HAVE A REGULAR GP.

She said that men usually only go to the doctor once something is already really advanced – like with a prostate problem and maybe they cant urinate properly or something major like this.  This makes it harder to treat (because it is so advanced) so the outcome may not be as good.

3.  Having a social network.  Michelle told us ” Stress is a huge indicator of survival rate.  Women tend to have a bigger social network and will talk more to their friends about their problems, where men tend to be more solitary in their older age, so may hold onto some of that stress.  They don’t tend to talk about their problems as much, don’t tend to get out as much and socialise”.

So Michelle’s suggestions for working to change these statistics are to look at these three main aspects in life and in particular, for men to be more pro active with their preventative health and to get onto their health problems sooner rather than later.

Leanne James
Founder of Ideal health

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