Kelly VanderBeek OLY, Broadcaster, Trainer, Artist
Old GAP - New Data
That's right folks. I'm talking about GAPS. But this isn't a wage gap or a board gender gap. The gap I'm talking about is - breaking news! Men die before women.
Ok, so this isn't breaking news.
In fact, this is considered common knowledge. So common, that we've begun to stop asking why. Thankfully, some researchers haven't stopped searching for the elusive answer as to why this culturally accepted fact is a fact at all.
As of right now, men die just over 4y before their female counterparts according to Statistics Canada. Plus. if you match up men & women from the age of 65y, the gap only narrows to a 3y difference. However, there are NO obvious biological reasons men should die sooner, according to Dan Bilsker a professor at Simon Fraser University & Co-author of 2010's report "A Roadmap to Men's Health'.
So why do men die? Now, that is the right question.
The top three causes of men dying are: heart disease, suicide & accidents. As these are largely considered self inflicted, victim blaming has whitewashed this issue into being a 'non-issue'.
Why do I care? Well, I married older and I hope to have my husband around for as long as possible. 4y...that's a long time...I want to know what we can do to change those odds. Also, I have a son, father, brothers, etc. etc.
Culturally, men are encouraged to take risks, drive fast, drink lots, and ignore healthy habits. Over a lifetime this framework of beliefs affects men & their decision making.
If we want men to live longer, this needs to change.
Dan Bilsker promotes changing our ideals of manliness. Moving away from encouraging competition, aggression and risk-taking to traits like honour, duty & sacrifice.
An inspiring article (even if it came from a place of frustration) by Peter Shawn Taylor at Maclean's Magazine is worth the read and delves deeper into supporting statistics.
I also had a great chat with Rob Murray from Rogers', Mountain FM on the topic:
In the end, I'm selfish. I like the men around me and I hope they're around for those 4+ years. (...and if I'm brutally honest. I'd rather die sooner than see them pass.)
So, let's raise a glass and toast all the men living with honour, duty & sacrifice!