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Centre for Women & Democracy
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Women live longer, not healthier, lives

10 Nov, 2009

The World Health Organisation's new report on the health of women and girls has found that, although women live longer than men, they are not necessarily either healthier or happier. The main killer of women worldwide is heart disease, but there are differences between types of country, and the biggest killer of adolescent girls in richer countries is traffic accidents rather than any disease. The report notes that although women provide most of the world's healthcare, they don't always receive adequate care themselves in return, and it suggests that women's lower socio-economic status frequently cancels out their biological advantages.

There are other interesting points. Dementia is the third biggest killer of women in high income countries, but doesn't even make the top ten anywhere else. Heart disease and stroke are high on the list for all types of country, and - perhaps unsurprisingly - there is a direct link between the wealth of a country and the death rate from HIV/AIDS.

The report is full of interesting findings which should be informing public policy both in the UK and elsewhere. It's a pity, therefore, that it has received so little media coverage here.

Full details of the report can be found on the WHO website at:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs334/en/index.html