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New research shows that men can expect to outlive women

Men are choosing healthier lifestyles for longevity

New research from Cass Business School has found that men can soon expect to outlive women for the first time since records began. Life expectancy for men is going up as they abandon unhealthy lifestyles.

Professor of Statistics, Leslie Mayhew and colleague David Smith, have worked out that a boy born in 2000 will, from the age of 30, have the same life expectancy as a girl of the same age. His calculations apply only from the age of 30 as baby boys are still expected to be more fragile than girls and young men are more likely to die in sporting and road accidents. 

His findings appear to suggest that men are replacing old-fashioned macho behaviour for longevity. Fewer men smoke and male cancer rates are now half the level they were in 1975, while female lung cancer rates have almost doubled during the same period, albeit at a lower level than men's. 

Professor Mayhew said: "There has been a huge decline in the numbers working in heavy industry; far fewer males smoke than before, and there is much better treatment for heart disease, which tends to affect males more than females. The gap was at its widest in 1970 but In the last twenty years alone male life expectancy at 30 has increased another six years to just under 50."

Their predictions apply only to England and Wales and exclude Scotland where life expectancy is generally lower.

Their research also found evidence that men are catching up in other countries too. In Sweden it will take only until 2024 for a male of 30 years old to equal the life expectancy of a woman of the same age. 

Professor Mayhew added: "the gap is almost wholly due to societal rather than biological or genetic factors pointing out that before smoking cigarettes became fashionable the life expectancy gap was between one and two years." 

The research will be published in a Cass Business School report in May.

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