Why Do Women Live Longer than Men?

Women tend to live longer than men for two key reasons

Women’s lifestyles may hold the key to longevity

There may be two good reasons to explain why women generally live longer than men

According to a recent study, there’s yet another terrific strategy to living a long life.

If you want to live past 100 — and admit it, if you’re a baby boomer, you’d love to get close to the century mark because by then it’s at least possible the Canucks will have finally won one Stanley Cup — here’s the secret to longevity: become female.

Record-breaking Female Birthdays

You see, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, of the 53,364 record number of Americans who hit the 100-year mark in 2010 (the last year for which they have data), fully 83 per cent were female. Unsurprisingly, most were white urbanites, but surprisingly, the highest proportions of centenarians were in Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

So why do so many women live that long but not men?

Well, it’s certainly not all that wheat and corn they grow in the Midwest, because it’s pretty likely that would benefit men equally.

Rather, I think, women tend to live longer than men for two key reasons.

Women’s Health Secrets

First, overall, women do a better job of monitoring their health, which means women pay more attention to early symptoms, to getting routine screening tests, listening to their health-care providers, etc.

Second, and this factor probably is more important, women are way better than men at using non-spousal social networks such as friends, volunteer organizations, religious institutions, and yes, even book clubs. We know from lots of studies that social networks are not only vital in helping us survive, but equally important in helping us thrive as we age.

In social networks, we involve ourselves with people who care about us. Miss a couple of meetings of your church choir and chances are someone in the choir will want to know why, especially, I suppose, if you’re the only bass in your all-female singing group.

Just as importantly, social networks involve greater use of both our bodies and our minds.

After all, even if your only social network is the local floating game of craps or bingo, you still have to get to the game regularly, plus you have to use your brain to play. Yes, figuring out which square is B-12 does mean using your intellectual skills, tiny though the requirement may be.

Learn from the Experts

To live longer we don’t have to become female after all. Rather, we just need to use some of our female friends’ strategies and we’ll likely gain plenty from just that (such as way more pairs of shoes, perhaps).

Dr. Art Hister is a medical writer and health analyst for Global TV.

Originally published in TVW. For daily programming updates and on-screen Entertainment news, subscribe to the free TVW e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.