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Global Disparities of Male Longevity / Men's Health Week

Thanks to Frank Lindley for this Special Report on alarming trends
in male death rates compared to women's.  If radical feminism is
correct about "patriarchal oppression" it would appear that all this
results because men are in a conspiracy against themselves.  There
may be some truth to that for some men (as well as some women).
But we believe that the solution does not lie in continuation of the
War on Fathers, or further oppression of men in other areas, but in
restoration of true equal protection and due process of law that is
blind to gender, especially in social policy and in family courts.

In family law, equal protection and due process can only mean a
rebuttable presumption of 50-50 shared parenting.  Until gender
stereotyping is eliminated from family law, we should not expect
this alarming gender disparity in death rates to change.



Men's Health America Special Report


This Special Report summarizes the differences in longevity and death
rates between men and women at the international level.

The World Health Report, published every year by the World Health
Organization (WHO), is the most authoritative source of information on
life expectancy and mortality patterns in every country around the world.
The most recent World Health Report summarizes the number of male
and female deaths (reference 1):

                                                    Males             Females
Communicable Diseases                  9,252,000         8,495,000
Non-communicable Diseases          16,998,000        15,856,000
Injuries                                       3,415,000          1,647,000

This table shows that for all three major categories of death, males
are at greater risk of death.

Suicide, a subcategory of injuries, also contributes to the mortality
imbalance. A recent WHO publication reports that globally, the suicide
rate for males is 24.0/100,000, compared to 3.5/100,000 for females.
The report concludes, "The rate of suicide is almost universally higher
among men compared to women by an aggregate ratio of 3.5 to 1"
(reference 2).

The lifespan gender gap exists in almost every country in the world.
The disparity ranges from 3.8 years in Israel to a disturbing 15.4 years
in the Russian Federation (see table at the end of this Special Report).

And this disparity is expected to worsen. According to the WHO Global
Burden of Disease study, women's life expectancy is expected to increase
to about 90 years by 2020 in industrialized countries. As for men, "far
smaller gains in male life expectancy were projected than in females"
(reference 3).

The greatest disparities are found in the 15-60 year age group, the
years when people are most productive to society. According to the
Global Burden of Disease Study, male mortality in this critical age
group surpassed female deaths by substantial margins in all eight
regions of the world (reference 4).

In the industrialized countries of North America and Europe, there are
twice as many male deaths as female deaths among persons 15-60 years
old. In the former Soviet countries of eastern Europe, the gender
disparity in this age group is greater than 2:1.

The greatest sex-specific disparities in lifespan are to be found in the
countries of the former Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union broke
apart in 1991, the resulting economic instability had an adverse effect
on longevity. Male life expectancy plummeted from about 63.5 years in
1990 to 58 years in 1995. In contrast, female life expectancy dropped by
only 2 years during the same period---from about 73.5 to 71.5 years. The
drop in male life expectancy was so precipitous that the North American
Treaty Organization (NATO) convened a special conference to investigate
the causes (reference 5).

It is true that women are more likely to suffer from certain conditions than
men, such as osteoporosis and immune disorders. But the loss of life, for
which men are at greater risk, must be considered the greatest loss of all.
As Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
recently put it, the right to life is "the most precious of rights."

Men's Health Consistently Lags

All around the world, the lifespan of men lags behind that of women.
This generalization applies to the three major categories of death, in
virtually every country, and in all age groups.

The disparities of men's health are especially acute for males in the
15-60 year age group, and in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

The condition of men's health is in dire straits.

 Lifespan Gender Gap in Selected Countries, 1994

                         Men    Women     Difference
Israel                 75.1      78.9          3.8
Chile                  71.4      76.3          4.9
Denmark             72.7      77.9          5.2
Sweden              76.1      81.4          5.3
Singapore           73.5      79.0          5.5
Ireland               72.6      78.2          5.6
New Zealand       73.3      78.9          5.6
Australia             75.1      80.9          5.8
Netherlands         74.6      80.4          5.8
England              73.8      79.7          5.9
Greece               74.1      80.2          6.1
Norway              74.2      80.3          6.1
Canada              74.8      81.0          6.2
Scotland            71.4      77.7          6.3
Austria              73.3      79.8          6.5
Germany            73.0      79.6          6.6
United States     72.4      79.0          6.6
Italy                  74.0      80.7          6.7
Japan                76.6      83.3          6.7
Switzerland        75.1      81.9          6.8
Portugal             71.5      78.6          7.1
Czech Republic    69.5      76.6          7.1
N. Ireland          72.5      79.7          7.2
Romania            66.0      73.3          7.3
Finland             72.8      80.2          7.4
Spain               73.7      81.1          7.4
Bulgaria            67.1      74.7          7.6
Slovakia           68.3      76.5          8.2
France             73.8      82.1          8.3
Poland              67.4      76.0          8.6
Puerto Rico       69.6      78.9          9.3
Hungary           64.9      74.3          9.4
Russia             57.7      73.1         15.4

Source: Department of Health and Human Services: Health, United States,
1998, Table 28.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27
Cost for airmail postage: 80 cents

1. World Health Organization: World Health Report 2001, Annex Table 2,
Geneva, Switzerland: WHO, 2001.
2. WHO: The World Health Report 2001: Mental Health: New Understanding,
New Hope, chapter 2.
3. Murray CFL, Lopez AD. Alternative projections of mortality and
disability by cause 1990-2020: Global Burden of Disease Study, Lancet
1997; Vol. 349, pp. 1498-1504.
4. Murray CFL, Lopez AD. Mortality by cause for eight regions of the
world: Global Burden of Disease Study, Lancet 1997; Vol. 349, pp.
5. Stone R: Stress: The invisible hand in Eastern Europe's death rates.
Science 2000; Vol. 288, pp. 1732-1733.

This Special Report was originally posted on June 7, 2002 at

Related articles/websites:

Importance of testicular self-exam
by Ann Landers -- Washington Post, 07 Jun 02

Gene linked to testicular cancer
BBC News, 05 Jun 02

Men's 'Silent Health Crisis' Cries Out for Men's Health Act
by Glenn Sacks -- Sacks/MND, 18 Dec 01/05 Jun 02

Testicular Self-Examination

International/National Men's Health Week

Office of Men's Health Resource Center

Men's Health Network

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