AUG 18, 2016 02:23 PM PDT

Why Women Win at Life Expectancy

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Across the globe, women are outliving men, and not by a small margin either. According to the latest report by the Centers for Disease and Prevention, the average life expectancy for a woman is 81.2 years, while a man's average life expectancy is 76.4 years. That's nearly a five-year difference!

What's behind this gap? Researchers generally agree that heart disease appears to be the leading cause of preventable deaths in men over 40. Lifestyle influences, such as smoking, bad diet, and inactivity also account for increased health risks in men. But these factors also plague women too.

Some geneticists would argue the root of the difference may lie in the basic genetic differences between males and females. That is, males only have a single X-chromosome, whereas women have an extra copy that could be used to buffer detrimental effects brought on by nature or nurture. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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