Traditionally men are regarded as the stronger sex. However, when it comes to overall vitality and life-long endurance, women win hands down and, according to the World Health Organization, women live an average of six to eight years longer than men. So, what can this astounding vitality be attributed to and what can women teach men when it comes to keeping the grim reaper away?
“At PURA Soda, we’re constantly urging people to ‘live a little PURA’. This means doing small things every day to improve yourself and the world around you. During National Women’s Month, we wanted to shine a light on the little things that women do to secure lasting health and prolonged lifespans, because these small differences go a long way”, says Greig Jansen, PURA Soda CEO.
Helpful vs harmful behaviours
Research has found that women are more likely to engage in prosocial behaviours like being kind, considerate, empathetic and helpful to others. They are also less likely to take harmful risks than men. We’re not talking about relatively safe thrills like bungee jumping or sky diving, but dangerous risks like driving while drunk, getting into fights, diving off balconies or dangling from skyscrapers.
This is demonstrated by the fact that 89% of Darwin Award recipients are men. To win a Darwin Award, a person must die in "an extraordinarily idiotic manner," and thereby protect the human gene pool and improve the species' chances of long-term survival. These results speak for themselves.
Better safe than sorry
Being tough is often a point of pride for men but shrugging off aches and pains can have serious consequences. Women are more likely to think about their health, get regular check-ups, go to the doctor when they feel unwell and, when diagnosed, they are more likely to follow medical advice and stick to a treatment plan. Having a macho attitude to one’s health can result in men missing important warning signs, contributing to their tendency to kick the bucket a little sooner than the fairer sex.
Sex hormones play an essential role in sexual development and reproduction. In women, the primary sex hormone is oestrogen and in men, it is testosterone. These hormones may play a role in overall health. For example, oestrogen has been shown to have antioxidant properties. In fact, before menopause, coronary heart disease has been observed to be three times lower in women than in men, compelling evidence of the hormone’s protective effect.
Conversely, testosterone has been linked to a shorter lifespan in men. A study recently analysed the detailed records of 81 Korean eunuchs in the 19th Century, finding that they lived an average of 20 years longer than the other men in court and were 130 times more likely to celebrate their hundredth birthday.
Got a bad habit?
From smoking to drinking too much, women are less likely to have habits that are harmful to their health. According to the World Health Organisation, globally about 40% of men smoke as compared with nearly 9% of women. And, of people worldwide with alcohol use disorders, only 17% are women. Both of these vices are linked to an array of negative health consequences including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and cancer.
“So, in the battle of the sexes, kudos goes to women for their overall strength, their good choices and their ability to lead the way towards long and healthy lives. It wouldn’t hurt for us guys to pick up more of their good habits now and again”, concludes Jansen.