Men

Men among men

The song goes: “Give me a man who’s a man among men/Who’ll stow his white collar and put down his pen/Who’ll blow down a mountain and build you a dam/Bigger and better than old Uncle Sam”. That’s fine as long as you need a mountain blown in the short term because according to new research those “men among men” don’t live as long as “men among women”.

To establish this researchers looked at two sizeable pieces of data. Firstly they looked at all people who graduated from high schools in Wisconsin in 1957. They calculated the gender rations for each high school graduating class and looked at how long the students lived over the next 50 years.

The second part of the study compared Medicare claims with census data for seven million men across the United States.

The results of both pieces of research showed that men who came from classes where there were more boys than girls did not live as long as those boys in a more gender balanced environment. In fact here was a linear relationship between the two factors meaning that the higher the percentage of boys, the lesser the lifespan.

Although the change in lifespan was not huge, it was significant. Men from a male dominated environment tend to live three to four months shorter lives. While this does not sound a lot it is essentially equivalent to the lifespan increase that you get by engaging in moderate and regular exercise.

The theory is that the men who have to compete for the attention of women become stressed and stress is known to have negative health impacts.

The moral here is twofold. There are significant implications for countries where there are gender imbalances due to male children being favoured. In some of these countries men outnumber women by 20 per cent and that’s a stressful recipe for everybody concerned. Secondly, given the comparative benefits of physical exercise, gentleman if you are in a male-heavy environment; either give up the mating game or get jogging.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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