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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Being a man 'is bad for health'
Men take more risks than women
Simply being a man is bad for your health, doctors have suggested.

A study in the United States shows men take more risks than women and are more likely to die from almost everything from heart disease to murder.

While men are more likely to die than women at practically every stage of their lives, the authors found the risks are highest in early twenties and in old age.


Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death

Randolph Nesse, University of Michigan
The doctors have called on governments across the world to take action to improve the health record of men.

They suggest that as many as 375,000 lives could be saved in the US alone if male mortality rates were brought into line with those of women.

International study

Randolph Nesse and colleagues at the University of Michigan examined premature deaths among men in across 20 countries.

They found that men between the ages of 20 and 24 were three times more likely to die than women of the same age.

Up to the age of 50, men were overall twice as likely to die compared to women.

Even in the later stages of life, men continued to have higher death rates than women.

The figures are based on studies carried out in the US but the researchers said similar trends were found across the world.

They said Ireland, Australia, Russia, Singapore and El Salvador had similar patterns.

Historically, men have always been more at risk of dying compared to women. But the researchers said their figures showed that the gap has widened dramatically since 1940.

They believe that part of the problem may be the fact that women have benefited more from medical advances than men.

They added that technological advances such as more powerful guns and faster cars were also adding to men's woes.

Mr Nesse said: "Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death."

He suggested the findings should encourage government's to change the way they tackle men's health issues.

He told New Scientist magazine: "If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer."

See also:

09 Jun 02 | Health
02 Nov 01 | Health
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