Why is it that women live longer than men?
On average, women live seven years longer than men, although in some parts of the developing world the gap is not as wide.
Men of all ages in industrialised countries run a greater risk of dying than women. This is particularly true of young men and those over 60.
At first, it was thought that this difference had biological origins and might, for example, be due to sex hormones. However, a study carried out in German monasteries and convents found that monks lived almost as long as nuns and other women.
It seems clear that lifestyle and living conditions play a greater role in life expectancy than genetic differences. The average life expectancy of men is probably shorter than that of women because they run more risks and are more weighed down by stress and work – unless they happen to live in a monastery. The fact that men generally pay less attention to their health may also be significant.