New data from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights significant sex differences in life expectancy, healthcare use and causes of mortality.
The WHO’s World Health Statistics 2019, disaggregated by sex for the first time, show women outlive men everywhere in the world, with men living up to 69.8 years on average and women 74.2 years. Life expectancy at 60 years is 21.9 years for women and 19 years for men.
The report shows the reduced life expectancy of men is not because of a single or small number of causes, and of the 40 leading causes of death, 33 contribute more to reduced life expectancy in men than women. In 2016, the probability of a 30-year-old dying from a non-communicable disease before 70 years of age was 44 per cent higher in men than women. Global suicide mortality rates were 75 per cent higher in men than women.
Attitudes to healthcare also differ. Men and women face the same diseases, but men seek healthcare less than women.
A number of key actions are suggested to address the findings including developing health policies and programmes that are sensitive to sex and gender.