Why do women have longer life expectancies than men in Israel?

Science and Health

Just like every other Independence Day, new data from the Central Bureau of Statistics was published on life expectancy in Israel. It showed that by the end of 2021, the average life expectancy for women is 84.6 years and 80.5 years for men.

The truth is, no matter what country you set foot in, the statistics will be the same. Women live longer than men, and no one really knows why. In Western Europe the life expectancy of men is shorter than that of women by somewhere between 3 and 6 years, in Eastern Europe the differences increase and double, and as mentioned, even in Israel, which is considered one of the countries with the longest life expectancy, women live four years longer on average. Plus, at the age of 100, the ratio of women to men all over the world is 1:2.

True, the differences between women and men exist in almost every field you can think of, for better or for worse, so there is no reason for both sexes to die at the same age. On the other hand, how does it make sense that the species known for its high sensitivity and its physical weakness against the male gender manages to survive for much longer? In your search for the answer, here are some interesting facts and theories that might help us crack the code. 

So why is this happening?

Illustrative photo of elderly couple (credit: INGIMAGE)

1. Physiological differences: Heart disease, which is the number one killer in the world today, tends to attack men when they are in their fifth and sixth decades of life. Women, on the other hand, suffer from heart problems only after the age of sixty and closer to the age of 70. For every 1,000 men who get heart disease in the 55-65 age range, there are 25 women who get sick. Some researchers claim that the estrogen levels in women are what protect them from bad cholesterol, which is responsible, among other things, for many heart diseases. There are studies that even show that the female immune system is stronger than the male.

In addition, last May, in a study conducted by four universities in Sweden, researchers discovered that the loss of the Y chromosome is directly related to morbidity and mortality in older men. Since the Y chromosome is only found in men (and X in women), it is possible that over the years, the loss of the chromosome in the genetic material found in white blood cells is what causes the increased morbidity and mortality in men.

2. Women take care of their health better than men: One can assume that most women who read this section will smile in agreement. Men rarely go to doctors, let alone routine check-ups. Women, on the other hand, have a routine of tests that brings them to the clinic more frequently. What’s more, they are the ones who usually take their babies to the doctor. A 2012 survey conducted in the USA showed that more than a quarter of men did not have a regular family doctor. Add to this equation the fact that more women are dieting, eating right and taking care of their appearance and you have already received a partial answer.

3. Not only do women care about their health, but also about their social relationships: Loneliness has become one of the most common and painful diseases of the modern world, and studies in recent years have shown that our soulmates are getting smaller and smaller, and we? Well, we’re left alone – and it’s not healthy. Men tend to keep their worries and anxiety close to their chest (and not just as a metaphor) while women share and share their friendships. One of the reasons married men are healthier and live longer is that they have someone to talk to.

4. Women are less reckless than men: True, each case is different. However, statistics show that unintentional injuries are the third cause of death for men, while for women it is the sixth cause. In addition, men in their 20s experience what is known as a “testosterone storm,” where hormones skyrocket and can cause irresponsible behavior. This is one of the reasons why more men will drive without a seat belt, drunk and be involved in fights.

5. And finally, some biology: As in nature, so with humans. Females live longer. Female macaws live an average of eight years longer than males, and there is even a species of whale whose female lives an average of 30 years longer than the male. Nature gives priority to females because they are the ones who carry the offspring, and the longer they live, the greater the chance that more and more offspring will be born. In addition, the woman is the one responsible for the survival of the offspring and therefore her body is more durable.