Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Living Edition
| Editors: Danan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre

The Male-Female Health-Mortality Paradox

  • Vanessa di Lego
  • Patrick Lazarevič
  • Marc LuyEmail author
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_798-2

Definition

The male-female health-mortality paradox results from the fact that females live longer than males but spend a higher proportion of their total life expectancy in poorer health states. The phenomenon is depicted in schematic Fig. 1, where the gray-shaded area represents the proportion of total life expectancy spent in poor health, for females and males, respectively, on panels a and b. It is clear that the gray-shaded areas, representative of poor life expectancy, are larger for women than for men. The sum of the white area and the gray-shaded area is equal to the total life expectancy. Since health is an important predictor of death, the fact that women live longer in spite of a higher proportion of their lives spent in unhealthy state puzzles researchers. Some other terms used to describe the phenomenon are “gender and health paradox,” “morbidity paradox,” “morbidity-mortality paradox,” or “male-female health-survival paradox.”
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Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the European Research Council, within the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013), ERC Grant Agreement No. 262663 (HEMOX) and within the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020, ERC Grant Agreement No. 725187 (LETHE). PI: Marc Luy.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vienna Institute of Demography/Austrian Academy of SciencesWittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)ViennaAustria

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kirill Andreev
    • 1
  1. 1.Population Division, Department of Economic and Social AffairsUnited NationsNew YorkUSA