Long live men, say data 男人也长寿

英語學習點:答應和拒絕 Vocabulary: gender

Image copyright BBC World Service

In the battle of the sexes women have always won - at least when it comes to cheating death. Although they used to be called the fairer sex, they tend on average to live several years longer than men.

However, this gap in life expectancy is closing and men could catch up by 2030, according to an adviser for the UK's Office for National Statistics. It is thought that changes to traditional gender roles might be the cause of the shift. Dangerous jobs like coal mining remain largely the preserve of men, but now millions are in safer office-based jobs. It may be less macho, but it's a lot safer. Improvements in healthcare have also had an effect. Sufferers of heart disease, a condition that is more common among men, can expect to live much longer than they did a few decades ago. On the other hand, more and more women are taking up smoking - what used to be a masculine habit. Rates of lung cancer are increasing in women but falling fast in men, who are living a healthier lifestyle.

Professor Les Mayhew of Cass Business school predicts that if these trends continue both sexes could, on average, be living to the age of 87 in 2030. But in the Somerset village of Hinton St George, the girls are still on top. This community has the longest life expectancy in the UK. Female pensioners who are now 65 can expect to live to an average of 91.6 years, whereas old boys the same age have a predicted lifespan of 88.7 years. Both of these figures are extremely impressive. What is the secret of Hinton St George? Dave Keirle, the local window cleaner, suggests jokingly that both sexes owe him a lot. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, he says: "Clean windows mean more light, and they say that the more vitamin D you get from the sun, the longer your life."