31 comments
Angga Kurniawan
Angga Kurniawan

Actually Charlotte studies of  more insular communities (such as the Amish) have demonstrated that men are not necessarily programmed to die earlier then women. In these communities, both men and women live lives with similar stress levels and similar health, and men and women have similar longevity.

I have long predicted that as women and men take on similar levels of stress associated with taking on similar jobs that the gap will tighten up....apparently that is precisely what is happening. 

http://goo.gl/t1Vgwr

So really this isn't a "troubling trend" at all...it just shows that women are catching up as men. Isn't that a reason to celebrate?

(wow...equality bites doesn't it).

Eric Hurley
Eric Hurley

Below is an edited version to Fiegl's article above based on treating women and men equally...

Gentlemen Last, but Catching Up

How long do you have? It depends on gender and geography. In the U.S., women live longer—81 years on average, 76 for men—but a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reveals a promising trend.  While women gained 2.7 years from 1989 to 2009, men are catching up, gaining 4.6 years.

In the late 1800s American men and women had about equal life expectancies of 40 to 48 years. During the 20th century reduced infant mortality, vaccines, improved job and transportation safety, public health programs, better and more secure food supply, and other quality of life and health care improvements increased the life expectancy of women and men dramatically. But these improvements benefited women far more than men topping out in the 1970s when women's life expectancy exceeding men's by 7.8 years (U.S. Census data). In the last three decades men, finally, are beginning to catch up, now only 5 years behind.

Geographic gaps have also widened; parts of the South are a full decade behind places like coastal California. Public health initiatives like smoking bans and more sidewalks have made a big difference.

"People are living to 86, on average, in some parts of the world. Why shouldn't Americans do the same?", says study co-author Ali Mokdad. Focusing on men's health to achieve the same lifespan as American women would get us about half way there. Addressing regional differences will get us even closer.

Steven Van Valkenburg
Steven Van Valkenburg

If you look at the map regarding differences in life expectancy between men and
women, it's interesting to note that the places with the lowest gap are places
with the best overall health and wellbeing in the nation. For example, Fairfax
Co., VA and Marin Co., CA do very well overall and had the best life expectancy
for men in 1989 and 2009 respectively as well as relatively low gaps in
longevity between men and women. These are wealthy suburban counties at the
edge of large metropolitan areas with well educated populations. The worst off
counties for men tended to be places where health and wellbeing were the lowest
overall, such as Indian reservations, inner cities, and poor parts of the South
and Appalachia.

Compare this map with the Gallup-Healthways survey:

http://www.well-beingindex.com/

(There is a link to the .pdf for the 2012 report in there.)

It appears, then, that overall health and well being is best correlated with
income and education levels, as well as access to healthcare. Recreational
opportunities may make some difference too.
And in such places men tend to have the best overall health and well being and
the lowest longevity gaps with women.

The question is, how does one relate this to improving health and well being for
men overall?

MJ Darwin
MJ Darwin

I created this account so I could voice my disgust with the language being used. Articles likes THIS are a "troubling trend". Nat Geo, You've lost a reader and credibility. Does anyone read these articles before they publish them?

Stanley Rains
Stanley Rains

Amanda Fiegl should be removed from the editorial staff of National Geographic.

I have reviewed internet recording of Dr. Mokdad's statements to the press and have been in communication with him, as well.  Dr. Mokdad's presentations were egalitarian and absent the type of gender concerns Amanda would craftily imply. 

In none of the interview questions was Dr. Mokdad asked about men's health, which is clearly lagging behind women's health and mortality in this country as evidenced through his metric analysis of national data. 

Dr. Mokdad's statements the feminist journalists did not include were that women did not see as great an improvement because of women's own health choices, smoking, obesity, and failure to properly care for themselves as well as men when diagnosed with blood pressure or heart concerns.  Outside of personal choice, Dr. Mokdad stated the counties with the least overall health gains for women were ones with greater distances to quality health care which affected all living in that county, not just women.

Amanda Fiegl has damaged her own credentials as she has those of National Geographic.

Ciaran Brennan
Ciaran Brennan

So men not dying as soon is a "troubling trend"? Greater equality for men is a bad thing when men are disadvantaged?  What kind of a monster would make that statement?  I agree with the previous commentators that Amanda Fiegl should be fired.  This type of bigotry is unacceptable in a respectable journal. 

Let's talk about the health gender gap.  For every dollar spent on women's health, 77 cents are spent on men's health.  A ratio like that is a big deal when it comes to paychecks, but unremarkable when it's a matter of men's well being.  But that's not all.  There are 7 offices of women's health in the US Government and none for men, while federal funding for women's health research is more than twice that for men's health.  



Parthasarathy Bonaparte
Parthasarathy Bonaparte

It is unfortunate that even the gender gap in life expectancy ( that reveals the lack of funding to male healthcare ), is being used by women to claim 'victimhood'.

Stanley Rains
Stanley Rains

Amanda Fiegl needs to be fired.  She took greater liberties with the actual interview than did most other reporting organizations.

Unless there is another interview that has not been reveiled, the interview of Dr. Mokdaa was recorded by NPR and can be listened to in its entireity. Uunless there is another parallel interview by another gynocentric interviewer, such as Ms. Block of NPR, the real content of the interview has been hijacked by radical feminists.   It appears to be playing out in a manner similar, but not as sensational as the 'Super Bowl DV' myth or the myth that 'the greatest health hazard of women is male violence'.   The NPR interviewer attempts to pull Dr. Mokdaa into talking solely about women and directing the Dr to state it is a tragedy.   He states the opposite at the end of the interview.

You can listen to the interview of Dr. Ali Mokdaa at http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=137231275&m=137231260

Ken Deemer
Ken Deemer

How strange that we still only hear that little is done for women when women get the lion's share of health care dollars. No surprise though, many think that 95% of domestic violence victims are women although all UNBIASED research shows men are HALF the victims so women get ALL the federal dollars for abuse while men get..JAIL for BEING abused.

Nice work Ms St Clare!

Ken Deemer
Ken Deemer

Ms St Clare's statement that more women die is very misleading and it is the same reasoning that many think women are at a disadvantage in so many areas. For example, for years many thought that women were short changed in health care research. They NEVER were.. Feminist sources simply gave misleading "facts" much as Ms St Clare has done. They pointed out that (numbers are NOT exact, they are examples) ONLY 25% of health care research is for women only disease. What they do not tell you is that only 15% is for men only disease and they other 60% is for gender neutral disease but they wanted us to think that by saying only 25% is for women, we would think the other 60% was for men.

Rockville, MD -- In a stunning reversal, the National Institutes of Health has issued three letters that repudiate earlier claims that women were neglected by medical research. In a February 21, 2001 letter to Men’s Health America, the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health agreed to retract a 1997 statement that “women were routinely excluded from medical research supported by NIH.”

Ken Deemer
Ken Deemer

I want to address some MS information by Charlotte St Clare " More women now die of heart disease than men" This is NOT true and it is the same logic that feminist use everyday to show their extreme misandry against men. What is true is that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. It is also the leading cause of death for men but it starts TEN YEARS earlier for men then it does women. After the age of 65, the risk of heart disease is about the same between the sexes when other risk factors are similar.

Men are at greater risk of heart disease than pre-menopausal women, however, once past menopause a woman's risk is similar to a man's.

Among middle-aged people, coronary heart disease is 2 to 5 times more common in men than in women.

Tim Driscoll
Tim Driscoll

Come on Nat Geo, you're better than this. This is nothing but feminist propaganda 

Kelly Jessop
Kelly Jessop

It's a shame the author didn't consider the fact that men living much shorter lives is unnatural. But I guess that wouldn't even be an option when you hate men.

Kelly Jessop
Kelly Jessop

It's a shame the author didn't consider the fact that men living much shorter lives is unnatural. But I guess that wouldn't even be an option when you hate men.

Stanley Rains
Stanley Rains

Fire Amanda Fiegl. Amanda Fiegl spouts pure hate.It takes a true and fanatical bigot to twist such great news for everyone into an emotive gender battleground. 

You need to stop paying for articles from those trained in the much discredited Women’s Studies portion of academia.It is a training in bigotry, hate, illogic, and falsifying or misrepresenting data.I would point to the works that helped create the Constitution destroying nightmare of VAWA, those of Lenore Walker, PhD.

In review of this article, considering how Amanda ignores The Law of Diminishing Returns when it comes to women's aging; the fact that there are offices of women in virtually every Federal Agency with several addressing women’s health (not a single office of men in any part of the Federal government) and special women's health funding in a fantastic disproportionate level much greater than for men; seriously shorter life-spans for men; and more, your extremely misandrist associate editor shows that ideology is more important than fact.

Shame!You insult the intelligence of all readers, especially the men, loving families of men, their daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, mothers, and grandmothers whom men care for, love, and protect at the costs of men's own lives on a daily basis.

Fire this hate-filled ideologue. She taints the generational reputation of National Geographic for fact and ethics.

Sentient Man
Sentient Man

First of all, how is men making gains on life expectancy so "troubling'? Did you even think for a moment that the likeliest reason why women's life expectancies have not increased at the same rate as men's was because they were simply higher to begin with? Humans can't live forever (biologists estimate people can live a maximum of 120 years if they never get sick or face injury), and when you're closer to the possible maximum, it's harder to increase your total.

The only truly 'troubling' thing about this data, is the fact that despite making more gains than women in terms of life expectancy,  men's lives are still considerably shorter than women's on average. Yet, when this information is presented, it is spun as another victimhood story for women. I would expect better from a publication as reputable as this one. I'm thoroughly disappointed.

Lance Smith
Lance Smith

Did you honestly just say that closing the life expectancy gap is a troubling trend???? Interestingly, whenever any gap that favors men is closed that is a time to celebrate. Are you really suggesting that the lives of men are worth less then the lives of women?? Disgusting. A letter will be sent to Nat Geo. This is sexism - pure and simple.

Ar Henius
Ar Henius

 "Men are being misogynist by not dying when they should and leaving the money earned over their life to some women".


There - I fixed the title for you. I agree: Men should start doing what they can to give women the widest possible gap. Men already commit suicide at 3 or 4 times the rate of women (although women "attempt" it more), so I guess that's a start.

Ken Deemer
Ken Deemer

"but a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reveals a troubling trend"  As a male, I am not too happy right now that it is  a " troubling trend' That men have closed the gap by a couple of years.   I sure do no know why, I would have thought that per  THIS author she would  have liked men to die a few years earlier thus wideng the gap.   Since we only hear about breast cancer even during prostate cancer week, and we only hear about red for women's heart disease althugh men die from heart disease more often and at a young age, still almost all of our public service annocments for are for.....women. 

Ms Fiegl, would you prefer we men just roll over and die now so we do not close the gap any more?

Bob Koure
Bob Koure

This is overall longevity, so childhood and teen mortality is essentially over-weighted. The change may simply be more seatbelts (males die more in accidents) or less war (the 1989 map would have had a lot of WWII widows, some not even quite retired).
I'd be curious to see a map showing longevity from, say age 30 or 40.

david sullivan
david sullivan

Junk article with cool data. The article could've easily read "reveals we have made great strides against the stigma of men seeing their doctors and honestly confessing their ailments."  Men's testosterone levels have reportedly gone down in the last 20 years. 

No it's got to be sexism. 

Jacob Negron
Jacob Negron

Wait, so women outlive men by a significant margin, yet women are somehow still getting the short end of the stick in that regard? How does that make sense? Yeah, we need better health care in the US, obviously, but why is the focus still on women, if men are the ones being disproportionately affected by the gap? That would be like saying that the gender pay gap should focus on men, because women have gained more in the past few decades than them. Ludicrous.

Steven Van Valkenburg
Steven Van Valkenburg

Following what I just wrote, it's occurred to me that the life expectancy gap
(as well as health and wellbeing)between men and women is greatest in areas with
high poverty and low education levels. So a valid headline in the media would
be "Men in poor areas have highest life expectancy gap." Oddly enough, one
doesn't see a great deal of such headlines in the mainstream media for some
reason. I suppose it doesn't align with the politically correct cultural
Marxist narrative of women as being oppressed and victimized by men.

That's too bad, because by improving the health and wellbeing of men at the
bottom the overall well being of the nation would improve.

Amy Gorin
Amy Gorin

@Bob Koure Came here to say this.    Also, the AIDS epidemic started by killing men in their 20s and 30s almost exclusively (very much no longer the case), and until 1960 or so smoking was "unladylike", and vastly more men than women smoked. That blip is still with us, but now starting to fall off the edge of the curve. 


Charlotte St Clare
Charlotte St Clare

@Jacob Negron I think you are missing the point Jacob. The problem is that while women typically live longer, the increase in longevity from 2.7 years for women is far less than the 4.6 years of improvement for men. While the dramatic increase for men should be a cause for celebration, we also see a very disturbing trend of middle aged and elderly women not receiving adequate healthcare. More women now die of heart disease than men, research has documented disparities in care between men and women with many of them the result of the mistaken belief that women are not at high risk of heart disease. 

Getting men to champion their own health and see their doctors regularly has resulted in tremendous improvements to their longevity and quality of life. Women are in the same position now, as many are too busy with with work, school, & childrearing to see their doctors. Also, women who do see their doctors for problems can be dismissed unfairly by their doctor (who may contribute their problems to post-menopausal syndrome, worrying etc) or not  believe them to be at risk for disease due to stereotypes. 

Men will always be disproportionately affected by the gap because of many reasons, most of them being from having XY chromosomes rather than XX (which persist longer), higher risk lifestyles in youth than women (which brings the average down for men), and ironically low iron (which many women suffer from throughout life) may actually delay cardiovascular problems later in life for women. Men are just genetically programmed to die earlier.

I wouldn't worry too much about dying a few years before women- most of that time is spend pooping ones pants and being generally incoherent anyway. They aren't exactly quality years.

Ken Deemer
Ken Deemer

@Steven Van Valkenburg


Steve, we all have heard how men will not go to the doctors and of course, the
feminist use this to blame men for men's health problems but I think it is more
then that. Unlike Obama who is spending money we do not have like it is going
out of style, most of us have limited money to spend. We have to chose between
putting food on the table, gas for the car, taking the kids to the doctor when
they are sick, getting health care for our wife or getting it for yourself.
Well, when money is tight...I contend that most men will forgo THEIR health care
to allow their kids and wife to get it and we pretend nothing is wrong with us.
In the areas you have mentioned, there is more money so the men do not have to
chose between others and themselves.

Instead of blaming men....the feminist should be thanking men for sacrificing
themselves for others.

Ciaran Brennan
Ciaran Brennan

@Charlotte St Clare @Jacob Negron 

Men may be programmed to live shorter lives, but recent research indicates the difference is probably only a year or two.  Most of the difference we see is due to culture and lifestyle.  As women emulate male behavior to a greater degree - working long hours under high stress, not attending to one's health, drinking and smoking, engaging in risky behavior - they are also starting to suffer the negative consequences.

Stanley Rains
Stanley Rains

@Charlotte St Clare @Jacob Negron ,  Misandry is as unbecoming as is ageism, both are equally reprehensible " pooping ones pants and being generally incoherent " is a very uninformed attitude.  A lack of empathy is a symptom of all of the sociopathic disorders.

Sentient Man
Sentient Man

Women not making as significant gains is to be expected, when you consider the fact that their lifespan on average is closer to the maximum than men's. Think of it like a person's heart rate. If you're heart rate is 20 BPM from the possible maximum, it's much harder to increase it, than if it was say, 30 BPM below the maximum. It does not reflect anything but statistical inevitability given the circumstances.

Lance Smith
Lance Smith

@Charlotte St Clare @Jacob Negron Actually Charlotte studies of  more insular communities (such as the Amish) have demonstrated that men are not necessarily programmed to die earlier then women. In these communities, both men and women live lives with similar stress levels and similar health, and men and women have similar longevity.

I have long predicted that as women and men take on similar levels of stress associated with taking on similar jobs that the gap will tighten up....apparently that is precisely what is happening.

So really this isn't a "troubling trend" at all...it just shows that women are catching up as men. Isn't that a reason to celebrate?

(wow...equality bites doesn't it).

Aaron King
Aaron King

@Charlotte St Clare@Jacob Negron No, Charlotte. The point is that life expectancy rose for all, and the fact that the gap has shrunk since 1989 is as much a generational quirk (if you will) as it is a reflection of anything else. There is no evidence, from these figures, that women are dismissed by their doctors or are not getting medication for high blood pressure. After all, women's life expectancy did rise. See this post and the excerpt below: http://www.ginandtacos.com/2013/03/25/data-abuse/

"Life expectancy is roughly bounded at the high end. In other words, it can't just increase infinitely and the marginal cost of increasing it once we reach the 80s is quite high. Imagine that I run the 100m in 15 seconds but you run it in 10. If we both work our asses off for a year, I'll probably improve to 12.5 seconds, while you'll be lucky to trim down to 9.9 seconds. By starting out closer to the theoretical upper limit of how fast a human can run, of course you're going to show less of a "gain" compared to someone who is lagging far behind."

How to Feed Our Growing Planet

  • Feed the World

    Feed the World

    National Geographic explores how we can feed the growing population without overwhelming the planet in our food series.

See blogs, stories, photos, and news »

The Innovators Project

See more innovators »

Latest News Video

See more videos »

See Us on Google Glass

Shop Our Space Collection

  • Be the First to Own <i>Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey</i>

    Be the First to Own Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

    The updated companion book to Carl Sagan's Cosmos, featuring a new forward by Neil deGrasse Tyson is now available. Proceeds support our mission programs, which protect species, habitats, and cultures.

Shop Now »