Quick Quiz: Why Do Women Still Live Longer than Men?

The Answers Will Surprise You

The average lifespan for a person who is born and raised in the United States today is 75 – 80 years. The average lifespan for someone in the UK is also 75 – 80. A Canadian is expected to live 80 – 85 years, as is an Italian or a Spaniard.

And in each of those developed countries, a man’s life is at least five years shorter than a woman’s.

With all the strides made in the last 30 years toward the prevention and treatment of heart disease, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure and other life threatening illness, women still outlive men by a clear margin. Why is that? What do you think are the top three differences between men’s health and women’s that make such a statistic possible?

If you said the stress of earning a living day in and day out, you are a little behind the times. Women have been flooding the job force since the 1960s, and with every passing decade, they have been entering more and more traditionally “Male Only” fields such as firefighting and police work. At the same time they have been climbing the ranks within the corporate world – earning bigger paychecks, working longer hours and accumulating the same stress and anxiety, as well. Yet women still outlive men.

If you said, health conditions that only affect men such as prostate cancer and low testosterone were the cause, you would be closer. Lowered testosterone levels can lead to osteoporosis and other health related complications, but few are truly life threatening. Prostate cancer, on the other hand, is one of the top killers among men in the United States. Only lung cancer accounts for more deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, about 220,900 were diagnosed in 2003, and about 28,900 died from it.

But the real reason men do not live as long has less to do with any one disease – and more to do with how men respond to their own disease and illness. Men are much less likely than women to seek treatment for illness. They drink more and smoke more than women, and visit the doctor less. This gives diseases such as lung cancer and prostate cancer – the number one and number two killers among adult males – a better chance of becoming terminal.


As the old saying goes, “if you knew then what you know now. . . .” Now that you know the biggest health problem men face is themselves, it is time to take charge of your own health. If you are a man reading this article, make an appointment with your physician today to get a complete check up. If you are woman who cares about the men in your life, print this article out and hand each of them a copy.

The rest is up to the men.