Chapter

Women, men, and health

Sarah Payne and Lesley Doyal

in Oxford Textbook of Public Health

Fifth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199218707
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199609673 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199218707.003.0084

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Women, men, and health

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This chapter explores the ways in which sex and gender influence health. Figures for mortality and life expectancy reveal important differences between men and women in their risk of death and in the causes of death. In virtually every country around the world, men have a lower life expectancy than women, although the gap in life expectancy is narrower in low-income countries. Similarly, women and men have different patterns of ill health, and again, the gap varies between countries. Both sex and gender play a part in these variations. Sex, or biological factors, influences women’s and men’s risks of different diseases and health conditions, including reproductive disorders and diseases affected by the immune system and genetic factors, as well as survival following diagnosis. However, socially constructed gender-linked factors are also important. Gender affects behaviours such as smoking and alcohol use, which increase the risk of certain conditions, and also affects exposure to social and environmental risk factors, including paid and unpaid work, caring responsibilities, poverty and poor environmental conditions, and the risk of sexual and physical violence.

Chapter.  15639 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Public Health

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