In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Today, men, on average, die almost six years earlier than women.
Women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.
When it comes to his own health and well-being, the predominant male attitude is to tough it out. Compared to women, men go to the doctor less often, get less preventive care, and even when ailing, seek medical attention later and when their conditions have progressed further. Up until about age 65, when it has become imperative, fewer men have routine checkups than do women. Men tend to perceive themselves as healthier than do women, although statistically the opposite is true. Because of these attitudes, males often do not get the health care they need when they need it.
Men's Health and Weight
Many men do not seem bothered about being overweight, perhaps because being heavy is less unacceptable for a man than for a woman. Some men may even see a moderate beer belly as a source of pride. To many, being a big eater is a positive thing, part of their self-image. There may also be a feeling that gaining inches and weight is natural and inevitable as one grows older. Many men go from an athletic young adulthood to a life with very little physical activity by their 40s, but they continue to eat (and drink) as they did before.
Excess weight puts a man (or woman) at a higher risk of diabetes, exacerbates knee and back problems, and, especially in the form of belly fat, puts one a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
Is simply possessing a Y chromosome a cause by itself of increased mortality? I doubt that anyone today could give an authoritative answer. Our focus needs to be on changing attitudes among men and in our society as a whole, to reorient men and boys brothers, parents, sons, spouses, and friends toward valuing good health and health-seeking behaviors for themselves.