Gender Differences in Aging Reassessed

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Newswise “” It has been widely assumed that men age earlier than women, as evidenced by their higher mortality rates and shorter average life spans. But three Northern Michigan University biology professors contend that the opposite is true. They say theory and data suggest that females begin to exhibit signs of physiological decline earlier than males, and that higher mortality figures are not necessarily correlated with the rate at which we age.

In a recent issue of the American Journal of Human Biology, an article co-authored by Brent Graves, Mac Strand and Alec Lindsay presents a novel interpretation of how selection interacts with cultural and environmental factors to account for gender differences in the aging process.

“Because death can be caused by numerous factors, higher mortality rates don’t necessarily indicate that men age faster,” Graves said.

He added that the physiological evidence to the contrary includes the tendency for women to suffer vision loss more rapidly and suffer an earlier decline in their general health status. Another major factor is that they lose their reproductive capability at a younger age.

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