SEP 30 2019
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SEP 30 2019
All Posts

Why women live longer than men

Posted by: Henry Ford in opinion

When planning, I usually ask my clients how long they expect to live. I suggest that maybe we should plan for them to still be around at age 95. Most say that they really don’t want to live that long. They imagine they will be feeble and vacant and unable to function properly. They don’t consider how great it could be to see great grandchildren born, nor the possibility of being independent and fully participating in life when that happens. Age, as they say is relative.

Women, it seems, live longer than men. The mortality statistics confirm this. And often men find a partner who is younger, so it follows that on average women can expect to live for a period without their partner. That is an issue for another discussion, but how well have these partners been prepared for something that is almost certain to happen?

So, why do women live longer than men? To find some clues we might look at a place like Sardinia.  There, men live as long as women, and the chance of living to be 100 are six times more likely than in the USA. Is it their diet? Probably not, it is certainly no better than any other diet. Is it their genes? Probably not, they tend to have a life expectancy no better than any other when they move to other societies. Is it their housing? Possibly not, but there are some features of their housing that do have an influence.

To understand this more I listened to a presentation by Susan Pinker. She observed the happenings in Sardinia and discussed some research completed by Julia Holt-Lunstad of Brigham Young University. In short Julia took a sample of people, measured their health and waited to see what would happen to see who would be around seven years later. What they found surprised them. In terms of predictors of being healthy seven years later, the following chart shows the probability of each identified factor.

The two strongest factors are - having some close friends (apparently a number greater than three is the magic threshold), and being socially active. Women seem to find these activities more natural than men and in so doing they end up living longer.

So, if you are a man, and you want to see your great grandchildren, what should you do to improve your chances? Well, diet, exercise, sleep, your genes all play their part. But being social really does make a difference. It’s when work stops that this becomes a little harder. Work provides social interaction and often connections to a wide range of social groups. Maybe delaying the end of work might be good for your health? But sometimes it is just right to finish work. 

I have observed men who have got this nailed. They have coffee meetings, they have lunch meetings, they have book groups, they are members of service clubs, they do community service. In short, they have scheduled activities that bring them into contact with other men. Their conversations are interesting and each time they meet they solve the great problems of the world.

It might be time for us men to show we can live as long as women. We can’t have them beating us after all!! 

Henry Ford is an Authorised Financial Adviser and Director of Rutherford Rede Limited. He specialises in helping clients who need assistance in managing the financial consequences of changes in their lives. A Disclosure Statement is available, on request and free of charge.

Tags: Special interest topic,

When planning, I usually ask my clients how long they expect to live. I suggest that maybe we should plan for them to still be around at age 95. Most say that they really don’t want to live that long. They imagine they will be feeble and vacant and unable to function properly. They don’t consider how great it could be to see great grandchildren born, nor the possibility of being independent and fully participating in life when that happens. Age, as they say is relative.

Women, it seems, live longer than men. The mortality statistics confirm this. And often men find a partner who is younger, so it follows that on average women can expect to live for a period without their partner. That is an issue for another discussion, but how well have these partners been prepared for something that is almost certain to happen?

So, why do women live longer than men? To find some clues we might look at a place like Sardinia.  There, men live as long as women, and the chance of living to be 100 are six times more likely than in the USA. Is it their diet? Probably not, it is certainly no better than any other diet. Is it their genes? Probably not, they tend to have a life expectancy no better than any other when they move to other societies. Is it their housing? Possibly not, but there are some features of their housing that do have an influence.

To understand this more I listened to a presentation by Susan Pinker. She observed the happenings in Sardinia and discussed some research completed by Julia Holt-Lunstad of Brigham Young University. In short Julia took a sample of people, measured their health and waited to see what would happen to see who would be around seven years later. What they found surprised them. In terms of predictors of being healthy seven years later, the following chart shows the probability of each identified factor.

The two strongest factors are - having some close friends (apparently a number greater than three is the magic threshold), and being socially active. Women seem to find these activities more natural than men and in so doing they end up living longer.

So, if you are a man, and you want to see your great grandchildren, what should you do to improve your chances? Well, diet, exercise, sleep, your genes all play their part. But being social really does make a difference. It’s when work stops that this becomes a little harder. Work provides social interaction and often connections to a wide range of social groups. Maybe delaying the end of work might be good for your health? But sometimes it is just right to finish work. 

I have observed men who have got this nailed. They have coffee meetings, they have lunch meetings, they have book groups, they are members of service clubs, they do community service. In short, they have scheduled activities that bring them into contact with other men. Their conversations are interesting and each time they meet they solve the great problems of the world.

It might be time for us men to show we can live as long as women. We can’t have them beating us after all!! 

Henry Ford is an Authorised Financial Adviser and Director of Rutherford Rede Limited. He specialises in helping clients who need assistance in managing the financial consequences of changes in their lives. A Disclosure Statement is available, on request and free of charge.

Tags: Special interest topic,

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