Twentieth century surge of excess adult male mortality.
- Author(s): Beltrán-Sánchez, Hiram
- Finch, Caleb E
- Crimmins, Eileen M
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1421942112
Using historical data from 1,763 birth cohorts from 1800 to 1935 in 13 developed countries, we show that what is now seen as normal-a large excess of female life expectancy in adulthood-is a demographic phenomenon that emerged among people born in the late 1800s. We show that excess adult male mortality is clearly rooted in specific age groups, 50-70, and that the sex asymmetry emerged in cohorts born after 1880 when male:female mortality ratios increased by as much as 50% from a baseline of about 1.1. Heart disease is the main condition associated with increased excess male mortality for those born after 1900. We further show that smoking-attributable deaths account for about 30% of excess male mortality at ages 50-70 for cohorts born in 1900-1935. However, after accounting for smoking, substantial excess male mortality at ages 50-70 remained, particularly from cardiovascular disease. The greater male vulnerability to cardiovascular conditions emerged with the reduction in infectious mortality and changes in health-related behaviors.