Have you ever heard of the term “male-female health survival paradox?” It refers to the fact that women live longer than men but -at the same time- have more disabilities and report worse health.
In a recently published IJPH article, Prof. Dr. Herman van Oyen and colleagues use the concept of healthy life years to explore the paradox amongst 25 European countries. They report that women’s mortality advantage contributes to more healthy life years; however this difference is reduced by women’s higher rate of disability. Interestingly, in populations with high life expectancy, women’s advantage in healthy life years was small and in some cases men were found to have an advantage instead.
The authors conclude that the male-female health survival paradox is a function of the level of population health and it is dependant on modifiable factors.