Why Women Live Longer Than Men, According To Science

It's because of THIS one thing.

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If you ever go into a nursing home or retirement home you'll find many more women than men. In fact, there's a 7 to 1 ratio of women to men in assisted living homes, and a ratio of 10 to 1 of women to men in nursing homes.

Women outlive men, and a new study led by USC Davis School of Gerontology suggests that women, all over the world, live longer than men due to differences in heart disease.


Although a greater life expectancy for women is seen as normal today, it's actually a relatively new demographic phenomenon that emerged among people born in the late 19th century. As infectious disease prevention, improved diets, and other positive health behaviors were adopted by people born during the 1800s and early 1900s, death rates took a downward turn, and women began to live to older ages at a much faster rate.

The study was conducted with William Kiechnick, USC professor, Caleb Finchprofessor in the neurobiology of aging, and Hiram Beltran-Sanchez of the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The researchers examined the life spans of people born between 1800 and 1935 in 13 developed nations.


Among people born after 1900, the death rate of 50- to 70-year-old men was double that of women of the same age. Even when researchers used controls for smoking related illness, cardiovascular disease appeared to still be the cause of excess deaths in adult men over 40 for the time period.

Biologically, men may be more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease. Body fat (also called adiposity) tends to be distributed differently over men's bodies compared with women's, and their differing patterns of adiposity could make men more likely to gain weight from changes in diet and exercise.

"The uneven impact of cardiovascular illness-related deaths on men, especially during middle and early older age, raises the question of whether men and women face different heart disease risks due to inherent biological risks and/or protective factors at different points in their lives," Dr. Finch said.

Finch also says that research will still continue on the topic to examine diet and exercise differences globally, as well as genetics and biological vulnerability between the sexes at the cell level.


Good news for men who live long enough, though: if you end up in a retirement or nursing home, you'll really have your pick of the ladies.