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Women, men, and health 

Women, men, and health
Women, men, and health

Sarah Payne

and Lesley Doyal

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date: 05 July 2022

This chapter explores the ways in which sex and gender influence health. There are important differences between men and women in their risk of premature death and in the main 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 across the life course, and again the gap varies between countries. Both sex and gender play a part in these variations. Sex, or biological factors, influence risks of different diseases and health conditions, and also affects survival following diagnosis. However, socially constructed gender-linked factors are also important and also affect exposure to social and environmental risk factors. In addition, gendered differences in men and women’s use of healthcare, and inequalities in access to services and how appropriate these are, impact on health outcomes.

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