El País Article Highlights Need to AddressGender Stereotypesfor Better Health

A recent US study in The Lancet Public Health reveals significant health disparities between men and women, with men experiencing higher rates of premature death and women suffering from conditions that reduce quality of life. The study highlights the need for health policies tailored to the diverse needs of men and women, considering social and cultural factors that drive health disparities.

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Mahnoor Jehangir
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El País Article Highlights Need to AddressGender Stereotypesfor Better Health

El País Article Highlights Need to AddressGender Stereotypesfor Better Health

On May 4, 2024, El País published an article emphasizing the importance of breaking gender stereotypes and promoting healthy masculinities to improve health outcomes for both men and women. The article cites a recent U.S. study in The Lancet Public Health that reveals significant disparities in health between the sexes.

Why this matters: Addressing gender stereotypes and promoting healthy masculinities can have a profound impact on public health, as it can lead to a reduction in premature deaths and improve overall well-being for both men and women. By recognizing and addressing these disparities, policymakers and healthcare professionals can develop more effective strategies to promote health equity and improve health outcomes across different demographics.

The research found that men experience greater deteriorating health and have a higher burden of diseases leading to premature death, such as cancer and heart problems. In contrast, women suffer more from conditions that reduce their quality of life, including lower back pain, depression, and anxiety. The study analyzed the 20 pathologies that generate the greatest loss of health in individuals over age 10, using disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) as a measure.

Of the 20 pathologies examined, men had higher DALY rates in 13, while women had higher rates in 7, such as lower back pain, depression, and anxiety. Luisa Sorio Flor, a researcher at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, stressed that "women and men experience health and illness differently across their lifespan." She noted the study aligns with scientific literature on how sex and gender, including biological factors and gender roles, shape health outcomes.

The findings underscore the need for health policies tailored to the diverse needs of men and women based on age and sex. Importantly, the researchers highlight the role social and cultural factors play in driving health disparities, particularlygender normsand behaviors tied to traditional concepts of masculinity that can negatively impact men's health.

"Our research findings reveal substantial differences in overall health between women and men, with little progress in reducing these health differences between 1990 and 2021," the study authors stated. The El País article sheds light on a critical public health issue, calling for greater attention to gender-based health disparities and the promotion of healthier masculinities to improve outcomes for all.

Key Takeaways

  • Breaking gender stereotypes and promoting healthy masculinities can improve health outcomes for both men and women.
  • Men experience greater deteriorating health and premature death, while women suffer more from conditions reducing quality of life.
  • Social and cultural factors, including gender norms, drive health disparities between men and women.
  • Health policies should be tailored to diverse needs of men and women based on age and sex.
  • Addressing gender-based health disparities can lead to a reduction in premature deaths and improved overall well-being.