What life expectancy would men have if they behaved like women?

To the extent it’s possible, if men consulted healthcare professionals, smoked, drank, did drugs, engaged in risky behavior, engaged in self-preserving behavior as much as women, what would their life expectancy be like compared to now and compared to women?

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saucywench, it’s against GQ rules to post jokes before the question has been answered factually. In this case, I’m not really sure what the joke was. I have removed the video link from your post. Do not do anything like this again in GQ.

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Do we have any stats on the differences of behavior between men and women on any/all of your points, and what specifically do you mean by “risky” and “self-preserving” behavior?

It actually wasn’t meant to be a joke. I guess I should’ve posted, “I don’t get what the question is.”

How can there be a factual answer when there is no clear question.

Sorry, for bothering you.

You should stay out of GQ threads if you’re not going to make a factual contribution.

The question seems quite clear to me. It may not be easy to answer, but the question itself is interesting.

The life expectancy of men is shorter than that of women.
One likely cause of this is the difference in men’s behavior like being more likely to smoke, engage in dangerous activities, not go to the doctor until it’s too late.
I’m curious what men’s life expectancy would be like if we took those factors out of the equation. IOW: Is men’s shorter life expectancy all based on behavioral/environmental factors or genetics too? If we isolated genetics, what would men’s life expectancy be?

There must be some men who, behaviorally, are closer to the average woman than the average man. How long do they live?

There are two groups of men and women who behave very similarly: members of enclosed religious orders. There are male and female (Catholic) monasteries, and their lifestyle is very similar: ora et labora. Still women live longer. Can’f find a quote, though, but I read that a long time ago. I hope it is still true, perhaps it has been refuted in the meantime.

Answered, somewhat…in this article


Women are biologically more likely to outlive men even without greater risk taking.

Starting at birth, American life expectancy is 76 and 81, but I don’t have numbers for what we would get if we stripped out suicide and traffic accidents from both sides. But men die from heart disease a lot younger than women, and that’s not from ‘greater risk taking’

At age 85, American women can expect to live 7 years, men can expect to live 6 years.

By that age, most of the excess mortality from suicide and traffic accidents has washed out. Most of what’s left is an unexplained difference between being male and female: estrogen, size, that kind of thing.

Of course, at that age, men will be outnumbered 2:1. ‘life expectancy’ is not a fixed number.

How is dying from heart disease at a younger age not the result of risk taking? Eating unhealthy foods, avoiding exercise, drinking, smoking etc. have a huge effect on heart disease, and all are forms of risk taking.

Deaths in the younger population from heart issues isn’t necessarily just from what we usually associate with as the self inflicted causes. My rule of thumb is that there is a peak in deaths at about 40 due to heart arrhythmias. Even the fittest and healthiest living get felled by those. The arteriosclerosis deaths take longer to manifest except in extreme bad behaviour.
There is a school of thought that simply having testosterone burbling about in larger quantities makes men’s bodies burn out faster. There seems to be evidence that eunuchs live longer.

Sure, testosterone itself is probably a risk factor, but the point is, it’s hard to say how much of one, given all the other confounding factors. You can’t even use eunuchs (or other low-testosterone men) as a comparison, because their behaviors are probably different from intact men, too: Increasing the tendency towards risk-taking is one of the effects of testosterone.

Ask Jim Fixx. Fatal heart attack while jogging at 52 years of age.

I would not be inclined to put being lazy, indolent or stupid in the same category as risk taking. Sure, it is technically adding to your risk, but it isn’t in the same category as the fatal risk taking we usually associate with an excess of male deaths. They come from things like fast cars, adrenaline rush pursuits, and criminal behaviour.

Until males reach 45 in the US it seems that unintentional injury is the leading cause of death. Closely followed by suicide. After 45, cancer beats out heart disease until 85 years plus. For women it is a similar picture, but for young women suicide is down after teens and cancer is number two after unintentional injuries.

But the question might be more about what it is that changes the long term survival of males. It isn’t the classic young risk-taking male that pulls the averages down. It is more valuable to look at lifetime expectations versus age. The longer you have lived, the less of a disparity there is between male and female life expectancy. It is about 5 years different at birth, but if a man and woman both reach 100, they both have very close to the same (small) life expectancy. A male of 60 is well past all the classic risk taking behaviour, and has survived many of the other problems that beset the young, as will a female of 60. But the 60 year old male still has a lower life expectancy, about 2.5 years less.

Fixx had a family history of heart problems, although he also engaged in risky behavior like smoking when young. If he hadn’t taken up lots of exercise, he probably would have died much earlier. (His father died of a heart attack at age 43.) His early death was due to a combination of both genetics and behavior, so he’s not a good example for this either way.

But the OP makes it clear that what’s under consideration is not individuals, but men and women collectively.

Studies in those groups would be missing out one factor that might act as a leveller in greater society (all else being equalled as per the OP):

Not a lot of nuns dying in childbirth or having their lifespans affected by anything arising from pregnancy.