The Growing Divide: US Men Now Die 6 Years Earlier Than Women
Photo by - fluxfoto
Life expectancy is a measure of how long a person can expect to live on average, based on the mortality rates of a population. It is an indicator of the overall health and well-being of a society. However, life expectancy is not the same for everyone. There are many factors that can affect how long a person lives, such as gender, race, education, income, lifestyle, environment, and access to health care.
One of the most striking differences in life expectancy is between men and women. In most countries, women tend to live longer than men. This is partly due to biological factors, such as hormones, genetics, and the immune system, but also due to social and behavioral factors, such as smoking, drinking, violence, stress, and occupational hazards.
In the United States, the gap between male and female life expectancy has been widening for more than a decade. According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the difference between how long American men and women live increased to 5.8 years in 2021, the largest it’s been since 1996. This is an increase from 4.8 years in 2010 when the gap was at its smallest in recent history.
The study, led by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, analyzed the data from the National Center for Health Statistics and identified the causes of death that were lowering life expectancy the most. They also estimated the effects on men and women to see how much different causes were contributing to the gap.
Photo by FotografiaBasica
What are the main causes of the widening gap?
The study found that the main drivers of the widening gap between men and women were the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid overdose epidemic, among other factors.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 700,000 Americans as of October 2021, has taken a disproportionate toll on men. Men were more likely to die of the virus than women, probably due to a number of reasons, such as differences in health behaviors, as well as social factors, such as the risk of exposure at work, reluctance to seek medical care, incarceration, and housing instability. The study estimated that the pandemic accounted for 36.7% of the increase in the gap from 2019 to 2021.
The opioid overdose epidemic, which has been plaguing the country for years, has also contributed to the widening gap. More than 90,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2020, the highest number ever recorded. The majority of these deaths involved opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers. Men were more likely to die of drug overdoses than women, possibly due to higher rates of substance use disorders, mental health problems, and social isolation. The study estimated that unintentional injuries and poisonings, mostly drug overdoses, accounted for 18.8% of the increase in the gap from 2019 to 2021.
Other causes of death that contributed to the widening gap were accidents, such as motor vehicle crashes and falls, and suicide, which are also more common among men than women. These causes of death are often linked to economic hardship, depression, and stress, which may have been exacerbated by the pandemic and its social and financial consequences. The study estimated that accidents accounted for 14.7% and suicide accounted for 9.5% of the increase in the gap from 2019 to 2021.
How does the gap vary by state and race?
The study also examined how the gap between men and women varied by state and race. They found that the gap was larger in some states than others and that it was larger for some racial groups than others.
The states with the largest gap in 2021 were Mississippi (7.8 years), West Virginia (7.6 years), and Alabama (7.4 years). The states with the smallest gap were Hawaii (3.6 years), California (4.1 years), and New York (4.2 years). The gap tended to be larger in states with lower levels of income, education, and health care access, and higher levels of poverty, obesity, and smoking.
The racial groups with the largest gap in 2021 were Black Americans (7.2 years) and Native Americans (6.8 years). The racial groups with the smallest gap were Asian Americans (3.5 years) and Hispanic Americans (4.1 years). The gap tended to be larger for racial groups with lower levels of socioeconomic status, health insurance coverage, and health care quality, and higher levels of discrimination, violence, and chronic diseases.
Photo by - mediaphotos
How does the US compare to other countries?
The study also compared the life expectancy and the gap between men and women in the US in six European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. They found that the US had the lowest life expectancy and the largest gap among these countries.
In 2021, the life expectancy at birth in the US was 76.1 years, which was 4.7 years lower than the average of the six European countries (80.8 years). The gap between men and women in the US was 5.8 years, which was 1.6 years larger than the average of the six European countries (4.2 years).
The US also had the lowest life expectancy and the largest gap for most age groups. For example, at age 65, the life expectancy in the US was 18.7 years, which was 2.3 years lower than the average of the six European countries (21.0 years). The gap between men and women in the US was 3.9 years, which was 1.2 years larger than the average of the six European countries (2.7 years).
The US also had the highest mortality rates for most causes of death, especially for COVID-19, drug overdoses, accidents, and suicide. For example, in 2020, the COVID-19 mortality rate in the US was 1,038 per million, which was 3.6 times higher than the average of the six European countries (287 per million). The drug overdose mortality rate in the US was 274 per million, which was 8.5 times higher than the average of the six European countries (32 per million).
What are the implications and recommendations?
The study concluded that the widening gap between men and women in life expectancy in the US is a worrisome trend that reflects the poor health and social conditions of many Americans, especially men. The study also suggested some possible interventions and policies to address this issue and improve the health and well-being of the population.
Some of the interventions and policies that the study recommended are:
- Expanding access to health care, especially for low-income and uninsured people, by strengthening the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Medicare.
- Enhancing the quality and affordability of health care, especially for chronic and mental health conditions, by improving the coordination, integration, and delivery of services.
- Reducing the exposure and transmission of COVID-19, especially for high-risk and vulnerable groups, by increasing the vaccination, testing, tracing, and isolation efforts.
- Preventing and treating substance use disorders, especially opioid addiction, by increasing the availability and accessibility of medication-assisted treatment, naloxone, and harm reduction programs.
- Promoting healthy behaviors and lifestyles, especially among men, by increasing awareness and education on the benefits of quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.
- Addressing the social and economic determinants of health, especially for disadvantaged and marginalized groups, by reducing poverty, inequality, discrimination, violence, and stress.
The study by Yan and colleagues provides a comprehensive and insightful analysis of the life expectancy gap between men and women in the US and its causes, variations, and comparisons. The study reveals that the gap has been widening for more than a decade, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid overdose epidemic, among other factors. The study also shows that the gap varies by state and race and that the US lags behind other developed countries in terms of life expectancy and health outcomes. The study also offers some suggestions and recommendations to improve the health and well-being of the population and to narrow the gap between men and women.
The study is an important contribution to the literature and the public debate on the health and social issues facing the US. It also raises some questions and challenges for future research and policy. For example, how can the health care system be reformed and improved to meet the needs and preferences of different groups of people? How can the social and environmental factors that affect health be addressed and modified to create a more equitable and supportive society? How can the gender norms and stereotypes that influence health behaviors and outcomes be changed and challenged to promote a more balanced and respectful culture?
These are some of the questions that we hope this article has sparked in your mind. We invite you to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic with us and with others. Thank you for reading and stay healthy!
📌Originally posted on - medium
I hope you like this article, and learn something new. And if you want to learn more exoplanets, astronomy, A.I and other science topics, please check out our other articles and resources.
(1) US men die 6 years before women, as life expectancy gap widens | ScienceDaily
(2) Men die nearly 6 years before women, as US life expectancy gap widens: Harvard Public Health | MSN
(3) Men die 6 years before women as US life expectancy gap widens: Study | MSN
(4) U.S. men die nearly six years before women, gap is largest since 1996 | Harvard Gazette
(5) US men are dying 6 years before women: Study reveals ‘worrisome trend’ | NY Post
(6) Trends in life expectancy: did the gap between the healthy and the ill ... | BMC Medicine
(7) Gender gap in life expectancy in India and role of age groups: A ... | PLOS
(8) Inequality in Mortality between Black and White Americans by Age ... | NBER
(9) How the Growing Gap in Life Expectancy May Affect Retirement Benefits ... | NBER
(10) DOI link
(11) Census of India - SRS Based Life Table
📖Read My Latest Posts :
- Kali Yuga: The Age of Darkness and Chaos | Link
- Earth’s Water is Older Than the Sun
- Back to the Beginning
- WASP-12b. The final part of the Series
- WASP-12b: The Planet That Defies Expectations
- WASP-12b: The Doomed Planet That Glows Like a Blackbody
- The Sun’s 11-Year Cycle: What is Solar Maximum? 🌞
- The Moon's Slow Escape: What Does This Mean for Earth?
- Solar Maximum 2025: What to Expect
- Internet Apocalypse Caused By The 2025 Solar Storm📡
- The Sun: A Scientific Mystery
Science and Health
- What Happens to Your Body When You Give Up Sugar for a Month? | Link
- The Science of Aging: How can we slow down the aging process and live longer healthier lives?
- Cancer: An Overview 🎗️
- Cancer: An Overview🎗️(Part 2)
- The Side Effects of Different Cancer Treatments
- The Science of Aging: How can we slow down the aging process and live longer healthier lives?
Related to Time
- Quantum Entanglement: The Spooky Connection That Defies Space and Time | Link
- Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Travel. Part - 1
- The Butterfly Effect: Why Time Travel is a Dangerous Proposition. Part -2
- Time Travel: The Next Frontier. Part-3
- What Would Happen If We Could Change the Past?🤔
- 📜 What Would Happen If We Could Change the Past?
- The Future of Space Travel: Are We Ready to Leave Earth?
Science and Biology
- The History of Gene Editing
- The Different Techniques of Gene Editing
- The potential applications of gene editing
- DNA Barcoding: A Molecular Toolkit for Species Identification
- India to Launch Seven Singaporean Satellites on July 30 🚀- Link
- Chandrayaan-3: India’s Next Moon Mission
- Elon Musk Buys AI.com From OpenAI 🚀
- How AI Helped Scientists Discover the Genes That Shape Our Bones 🦴
- What If AI Decided to Wipe Out Humanity? A Possible Future. Part -1
- Surviving the Unthinkable: Navigating an AI Apocalypse. Part - 2
- Revolutionizing Healthcare: How AI is Transforming Patient Care
- AI rivals the human nose when it comes to naming smells | Link
- The Y2K38 Bug: A Threat to the Future of Computing?
- From Sci-Fi to Reality: Exploring the Potential of Virtual Reality in Everyday Life
- Quantum Computing and Satoshi’s Treasure - Link
- 81.5 CR INDIANS' PERSONAL DATA FOR SALE ON THE DARK WEB | Link
👋 If you enjoyed this topic, we'd love to hear from you! Show your support by reacting and leaving a comment below. Let us know your thoughts, or any additional ideas related to this discussion. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help us improve and bring you more exciting content in the future. Thank you for being a part of our community! 👍💬😊