WHY MEN DIE YOUNG: Well, younger than women at least -- by an average of five years. Dr. Sanjay Gupta (who performed emergency brain surgery on an Iraqi child while working as a medical correspondent during the recent war) discusses some of the behavioral factors that contribute to men's shorter lives.

According to David Williams, a senior research scientist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research and the main author of the study, men outrank women in all of the 15 leading causes of death, except one: Alzheimer's. Men's death rates are at least twice as high as women's for suicide, homicide and cirrhosis of the liver. Men don't just have more accidents, they are accidents waiting to happen.

"At every age," Williams reports, "American males have poorer health and a higher risk of mortality than females." ...

These reasons alone would certainly contribute to a shorter life span for men, but the problem may be even more profound. Williams blames deep-seated cultural beliefs — a "macho" world view that rewards men for taking risks and tackling danger head on. Men are twice as likely to get hit by lightning or die in a flash flood, according to a report delivered last week in Atlanta at a meeting sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In low-lying flood zones, says Thomas Songer of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, men are more likely to drive around barricades and drown in high water.

This isn't news; most of it has been known for a long time.

Genetics also plays a role, and it's pretty clear that X and Y chromosomes concern more than reproduction.



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