Why men die earlier: Smoking causes different life expectancies for men and women. Gender differences in life expectancy determined by smoking and alcohol.
Smoking is the main reason for the different average ages of men and women. British researchers found this out in a comprehensive study of gender differences in average life expectancy.
British researchers report that in up to 60 percent of cases, the different levels of cigarette consumption are responsible for the shorter lifespan of men. The results of previous studies, which certified that women have a better basic health constitution, appear to have been revised. As the researchers of the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, an institution of the state Scottish health system, report in the current issue of the journal "Tobacco Control", they have an extensive data collection from the World Health Organization (WHO) from 2003 as part of their study evaluated until 2005. The study focused on the death rates of men and women from 30 European countries and the influence that cigarettes and alcohol, for example, have on gender differences in life expectancy.
Women live longer than men Everyone knows that women on average live longer than men. For example, the Federal Statistical Office in Germany specifies a life expectancy of 77 years and 4 months for a boy born today, and 82 years and six months for a girl. However, the question is: why are there such clear gender differences in life expectancy? Are the different life expectancies based on biological causes or are gender-specific behaviors decisive? The scientists around Gerry McCartney asked themselves these questions in the course of their study and came to the conclusion that the life expectancy of men is shorter than that of women, mainly due to the higher tobacco and alcohol consumption. For example, myocardial infarction is a typical male disease.
Smoking Makes Gender Differences in Life Guidance British researchers report that the results of their study found that 40 to 60 percent of the difference in annual deaths between men and women was due to different smoking behaviors. In addition, alcohol consumption in Eastern Europe is responsible for 20 to 30 percent and in the remaining European countries for 10 to 20 percent of the increased deaths among men. Gerry McCartney and colleagues report that more men died than women in all European countries during the study period, although the extent was very different in the individual countries. For example, the gender gap was clearly the smallest in Iceland and the gender gaps in life expectancy were also relatively small in Sweden, Greece, Cyprus and the UK. However, according to the British researchers, the difference in deaths was remarkably high in Eastern Europe. Germany was relatively in the middle of the study, with about half of the gender differences in deaths attributable to cigarettes and about one fifth to alcohol in Germany.
Differences in life expectancy most pronounced in Eastern Europe Gerry McCartney and colleagues report that the gender differences in life expectancy were most pronounced in Ukraine. In the journal Tobacco Control, the British scientists explained that 942 more men than women per year died here, compared to just 188 more men in Iceland, for example. Smoking is a key factor in the gender gap in deaths. According to the study results of the British researchers, 1,081 men and 586 women per 100,000 inhabitants die each year from the consequences of tobacco smoking. According to the British researchers, 495 more men than women die in Ukraine due to cigarette consumption, for example in Iceland only 97 more men than women. Across Europe, 40 to 60 percent of the gender gap in life expectancy can be attributed to smoking, the scientists from the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit report. In addition, alcohol consumption in Ukraine is far more pronounced among men than among women, which means that out of 100,000 inhabitants, 317 men and only 77 women die from the consequences of their alcohol addiction. Overall, however, according to the British researchers, smoking is responsible for twice as many male deaths as alcohol consumption.
Alcohol consumption and tobacco shorten life The reasons why the tobacco smoking has a significant impact on life expectancy are explained by the British researchers with the increased risk of cancer in the respiratory organs and the risk of further heart, vascular and lung diseases. In the case of alcohol, liver diseases and esophageal cancer in particular are decisive for shortening life expectancy. Based on the results of their studies, the researchers are therefore calling for more measures on the part of the respective state healthcare system in order to contain the fatal effects of alcohol and cigarette consumption. In the long run, changing smoking and alcohol habits could lead to gender gaps in life expectancy narrowing, Gerry McCartney and colleagues emphasized. However, according to the researchers, it cannot be ruled out that the study may have caused inaccuracies, for example, in diseases that can be caused by smoking and alcohol. In addition, differences in the encryption of data in the individual countries are possible, which would also slightly distort the results. (fp)
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