New York Times

March 16, 2003

The Weaker Sex

By MAGGIE JONES
New York Times


Men start out ahead: 115 males are conceived for every 100 females. But it's downhill from there.

• The male fetus is at greater risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.

• Male births slightly outnumber female births (about 105 to 100), but boys have a higher death rate if born premature: 22 percent compared with 15 percent for girls.

• Overall, more newborn males die than females (5 to 4).

• Sudden infant death syndrome is one and a half times as common in boys as in girls.

• Boys are three to four times as likely to be autistic.

• Boys are three times as likely to have Tourette's syndrome.

• Mental retardation afflicts one and a half times as many boys as girls.

• Dyslexia is diagnosed two to three times as often in boys as girls.

• As teenagers, boys die at twice the rate of girls.

• Boys ages 15-19 are five times as likely to die in a homicide.

• Boys ages 15-19 are almost 11 times as likely to die by drowning.

• Boys ages 16-19 are nearly twice as likely to die from a car accident.

• Men are 16 times as likely as women to be colorblind.

• Men suffer hearing loss at twice the rate of women.

• Though women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men, four times as many men actually kill themselves.

• The male hormone testosterone is linked to elevations of LDL, the bad cholesterol, as well as declines in HDL, the good cholesterol.

• Men have fewer infection-fighting T-cells and are thought to have weaker immune systems than women.

• Men have a higher death rate from pneumonia and influenza than women.

• By the age of 36, women outnumber men.

• Men ages 55-64 are twice as likely as women to die in car accidents.

• Men ages 55-74 are twice as likely as women to die of heart disease.

• In the United States, men are twice as likely to die from parasite-related diseases (in part, some speculate, because their greater average size may offer parasites a bigger target).

• Among people 65 and older, men account for 84 percent of suicides.

• Stroke, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and accidents -- all among the top causes of death -- kill men at a higher rate than women.

• American men typically die almost six years before women do.

• By the age of 100, women outnumber men eight to one.

• The good news? Men who live to be 100 tend to be in better shape than their centenarian female counterparts.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company.