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'Young men have higher death rates than women'

Lifestyle of young men make them more prone to terminal diseases, says a UK study.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2006 13:50 IST

Young men throughout the world have higher death rates than women because of their riskier lifestyles, researchers said on Tuesday.

Accidents and suicide are the leading killers in men aged 15 to 34 while deaths from illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and chronic liver disease rise sharply in 35- to 44-year-olds.

"In every country there is an excess of male deaths due to potentially avoidable reasons. The main causes of death are those that are more or less directly attributable to lifestyle and risk-taking," said Alan White of Leeds Metropolitan University in England.

In a study published in the journal Men's Health and Gender, White and his colleague Mike Holmes analysed the causes of death in men and women aged 15 to 44 in 44 countries.

In each country the researchers found an excess of male deaths. In Thailand, 35 percent of male deaths were within that age group while in Sweden it was only 3.5 percent.

Along with Thailand, Brazil, Kazakhstan and the Philippines had the highest male death rates among 15- to 44-year-olds while Japan, the Netherlands and Italy ranked among the lowest.

In Brazil, homicide was the principal cause of death among young men while in Japan it was suicide. Suicide rates were higher among men in the richer northern European countries than in nations further south.

"I want to see governments recognise that men's health is an issue," White said in an interview.

"If you start to take young men's health seriously then that will have a profound effect not only on the young men but on their families and on society.

"Throughout the world the developing countries or those in transition have the highest rates of death among the age group 15 to 44 years."

Nations in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian sub-continent were not included because of the lack of data.

The researchers said deaths due to cancer, heart disease and chronic liver disease showed the importance of lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption which are known to raise the risk of developing the disorders.

In women, cancer of the breast, ovaries and cervix were the leading killers but men seemed to be more susceptible to cancers across the board.

"Men have a higher incidence of developing the majority of cancers that should effect men and women equally. They are developing it sooner and they are dying from it sooner," White said.

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