More than 50% of all women older than 65 in the US are widows, and widows outnumber widowers by at least 3 to 1. The disparity is even greater at older age; among centenarians (people who live for more than a 100 years), there are 4 females for every male.

This longevity gap is not unique to the US. When it comes to health, males are the weaker sex throughout life, and that’s a universal fact. But why?
A mix of biological, social, and behavioral factors that put men at higher risk of disease and death compared to women may be to blame.


Sex Chromosomes – Because women have two X chromosomes, the effects of having one bad disease-producing gene on one X can be counterbalanced by the presence of a normal gene on the other X. But in men – who have only one X chromosome – the same bad gene on the X will cause the disease, as they lack the potential protection of a matching gene.

Hormones – Testosterone has been historically blamed for the higher prevalence of heart disease among men, and even though research has disproven this, the male hormone is still thought to fuel other diseases like those of the prostate. Testosterone also contributes to aggressiveness, violence, and risk-taking – namely among younger men – which can lead to all sorts of problems.

Estrogen on the other hand is known to be protective for women – namely against heart disease – which is why its incidence is delayed by about 10 years in women compared to men.


Work Stress – A common explanation for the increase in cases of hypertension and heart disease among overworked males. As more women enter the workforce the gender gap may be slowly closing.


Diet and Lifestyle – Women generally eat healthier than men, and that’s a fact. “Male foods” stereotypically include meat and are less healthy compared to “female foods” which include more fruits and vegetables. Studies also found that men who consume a more healthy diet are judged to be less masculine and more feminine which may help explain the observed differences in consumption patterns.

Smoking and Alcohol Abuse – Smoking, drugs, & alcohol abuse have traditionally been male problems and the association of these self-destructive behaviors with multiple health issues from heart disease to lung cancer and more is well-known. Women have however been catching up to those rates due to the increasing adoption of these habits.

Lack of Routine Health Checks – According to a major survey, the proportion of surveyed men who had not seen a doctor in the previous year was 3 times greater than that of women. More than 50% of men in that survey also reported not having had a physical exam or cholesterol test in the previous year.


For all the lads out there, bad health isn’t inevitable. Men cannot change their chromosomes and not everyone has the luxury of quitting their stressful jobs, still, men can do a lot to catch up to women in many other areas. Taking care of one’s health should not be judged as “feminine” and Valeo is here to change this perception.
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