PARIS, Fla., Aug. 29 (UPI) — European women live longer than European men but the gender gap is decreasing due to more women smoking and drinking, researchers say.
Dr. Diego Vannuzzo of the Milan Centre for Cardiovascular Prevention in Italy says the total number of deaths is roughly similar for men and women in the 27 countries of the European Union — 2,416,786 men and 2,l418,048 women died in 2009 — and the trends are also similar, but women die older than men.
Life expectancy is the average number of years a person can expect to live, if in the future they experience the current age-specific mortality rates in the population, Vannuzzo says.
In 2008 the EU life expectancy at birth was 82.4 years in women and 76.4 years in men, a six-year gap, but it varies among the countries. A life expectancy at birth ranges in women from 77 years in Bulgaria to 84.8 in France, and in men from 66.3 years in Lithuania to 80 in Iceland.
However, a gender gap in life expectancy was present in each of the 27 countries, always favoring women, with a minimum of 3.3 years in Iceland and a maximum of 11.3 years in Lithuania.
The findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris.