Probability and Statistics Seminar   RSS

04/06/2012, 14:30 — 15:30 — Room P3.10, Mathematics Building
Bruno de Sousa, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, UNL, CMDT

Understanding the state of men's health in Europe through a life expectancy analysis

A common feature of the health of men across Europe is their higher rates of premature mortality and shorter life expectancy than women. Following the publication of the first State of Men's Health in Europe we sought to explore possible reasons.

We described trends in life expectancy in the European Union member States (EU27) between 1999 and 2008 using mortality data obtained from Eurostat. We then used Pollard's decomposition method to identify the contribution of deaths from different causes and at different age groups to differences in life expectancy. We first examined the change in life expectancy for men and for women between the beginning and end of this period. Second, we examined the gap in life expectancy between men and women at the beginning and end of this period.

Between 1999 and 2008 life expectancy in the EU27 increased by 2.77 years for men and by 2.12 years for women. Most of these improvements were due to reductions in mortality at ages over 60, with cardiovascular disease accounting for 1.40 years of the reduction in men. In 2008 life expectancy of men in the EU27 was 6.04 years lower than that of women. Deaths from all major groups of causes, and at all ages, contribute to this gap, with external causes contributing 1.00 year, cardiovascular disease 1.75 years and neoplasms 1.71 years.

Improvements in the life expectancy of men and women have mostly occurred at older ages. There has been little improvement in the high rate of premature death in younger men. This would suggest a need for interventions to tackle the high death rate in younger men. The demonstration of variations in premature death and life expectancy seen in men within the new European Commission report, highlight the impact of poor socio-economic conditions. The more pronounced adverse effect on the health of men suggests that men suffer from 'heavy impact diseases' and these are more quickly life-limiting with women more likely to survive, but with poorer health.