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Reaction: longevity gap between women and men is shrinking

Indicators of human longevity are on an upward trend in five groups of countries around the world, and the gap between women and men is narrowing, according to a study published in PLoS ONE. The gender gap in life expectancy resulting from the harmful effect of men's blue-collar jobs will shrink, but will persist in the future because men have a higher risk of certain diseases, the authors write. The research team, which includes scientists from the universities of Alcalá́, Barcelona, Oxford and London (UK), uses data and projections for 194 countries from 1990 to 2030.

17/01/2024 - 20:00 CET
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J-A Álvarez - Longevidad EN

Jesús-Adrián Álvarez

Actuary specialising in longevity at ATP Pension Fund and board member of the Danish Demographic Society

Science Media Centre Spain

This study provides an interesting perspective on the development of global inequality in terms of longevity. 

Despite some convergence in longevity indicators between regions, there are marked differences between countries. For example, Spaniards live on average 83 years, while the average lifespan in Nigeria is only 53 years. This simple comparison gives an idea of the magnitude of the global inequalities that prevail today and are likely to prevail for many years to come. 

Another interesting point to note is the comparison between the statistics for men and women, where the authors find that the longevity gap is narrowing. This finding is in line with previous research, which indicates that the longevity gap between men and women has narrowed in high-income countries. However, this reduction does not necessarily mean that men are living longer than women. Statistics indicate that one of the main causes of this phenomenon is the increase in deaths among women due to cancers and respiratory diseases associated with tobacco use, which translates into greater losses in life expectancy for women compared to men. 

Living longer does not mean that people live healthier lives. To quantify this, it is necessary to measure the number of years a person lives in good health. The combination of longevity and health indicators allows for a comprehensive perspective on the quality and length of human life. This perspective is essential in the development of social and public health policies with an emphasis on human well-being.

The author has declared they have no conflicts of interest
Convergence and divergence in mortality: A global study from 1990 to 2030
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