Nav: Home

Women's health has worsened while men's health has improved, trends since 1990 show

November 21, 2017

Researchers at Umeå University and Region Norrbotten in Sweden have studied health trends among women and men aged 25-34 from 1990-2014. In 1990, 8.5 percent of women self-rated their health as being worse than peers in their own age group. At 2014, this trend had increased to 20 per cent of women. In contrast, a bigger part of the men self-rated their health as better at the end of the study period compared to the start. This according to a study published in PLOS One.

"In recent years, public debate has raised the issue of increased illness and sick leaves among women. Our study now shows, for the first time, that there are corresponding health trends also among young women," says Annika Forssén, researcher at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, general practitioner and co-author of the article.

The researchers behind the study have, through a long-term, population-based survey, analysed answers from 1,811 people in the MONICA study in Northern Sweden. As a part of a standard health check, study participants answered a questionnaire which included questions about self-rated health.

The results also showed that an increased proportion of study participants indicated obesity, anxiety and dissatisfaction with their personal economy, among both women and men. Simultaneously, the proportion of women and men with high levels of physical activity increased over the period.

"A generally worsened self-rated health among young people most likely suggests increased risk of illness both in the short and long term. The results show that gender equality efforts, and especially the promotion of equal rights to health for men and women, need significant revisions," says Göran Waller, researcher at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, general practitioner and co-author.

According to the study authors, possible causes for this negative health trend among young women may be:
  • Tougher working conditions in female-dominated professions such as in healthcare
  • Increased risk of burnouts (stress-related exhaustion disorder) and stress of conscience
  • Lack of equality in one's private life
  • Men's violence against women
  • Two conflicting but coinciding norm systems in society - equality and traditional gender roles - where women must fulfil expectation related to both ("manage everything")
  • General societal expectations such as pressures to be both successful, socially active and physically attractive
  • Self-confidence based on achievements and expected patterns of consumption
According to the researchers, some possible reasons for the positive development among men may be:
  • In the labour market, men are still valued more highly than women despite having a lower level of education
  • A more equal responsibility for children and the household is beneficial for men's health
  • The equality norm opens up for more variation in the so-called masculine role
  • Lesser ties to rigid masculine norms in the local community through the Internet
-end-
For more information, please contact:

Göran Waller
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine
Umeå University
46-72-562-03-81
goran.waller@umu.se

Annika Forssén
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine
Umeå University
46-70-525-59-00
annika.forssen@umu.se

About the publication:

PLOS One, article: Time trends of comparative self-rated health in adults aged 25-34 in the Northern Sweden MONICA Study, 1990-2014. Authors: Mattias Waller Lidström, Patrik Wennberg, Robert Lundqvist, Annika Forssén and Göran Waller. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187896.

Umea University

Related Public Health Articles:

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.
BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.
The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.
Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.
Bloomberg American Health Initiative releases special public health reports supplement
With US life expectancy now on the decline for two consecutive years, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative is releasing a supplement to Public Health Reports, the scholarly journal of the US Surgeon General.
Data does the heavy lifting: Encouraging new public health approaches to promote the health benefits of muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE)
According to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, almost 75 percent of US adults do not comply with public health guidelines recommending two or more muscle-strengthening exercise (MSE) sessions a week, with nearly 60 percent of the population doing no MSE at all.
The Lancet Public Health: Moderate carbohydrate intake may be best for health
Low-carb diets that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fats from plant sources associated with lower risk of mortality compared to those that replace carbohydrates with proteins and fat from animal sources.
Mass. public safety, public health agencies collaborate to address the opioid epidemic
A new study shows that public health and public safety agencies established local, collaborative programs in Massachusetts to connect overdose survivors and their personal networks with addiction treatment, harm reduction, and other community support services following a non-fatal overdose.
Cyber attacks can threaten public health
Gordon and Landman have authored a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine that addresses the growing threat of attacks on information systems and the potential implications on public health.
More Public Health News and Public Health Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity
More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those survivors possess a kind of superpower: antibodies trained to fight the virus. Not only that, they might be able to pass this power on to the people who are sick with corona, and still in the fight. Today we have the story of an experimental treatment that's popping up all over the country: convalescent plasma transfusion, a century-old procedure that some say may become one of our best weapons against this devastating, new disease.   If you have recovered from Covid-19 and want to donate plasma, national and local donation registries are gearing up to collect blood.  To sign up with the American Red Cross, a national organization that works in local communities, head here.  To find out more about the The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which we spoke about in our episode, including information on clinical trials or plasma donation projects in your community, go here.  And if you are in the greater New York City area, and want to donate convalescent plasma, head over to the New York Blood Center to sign up. Or, register with specific NYC hospitals here.   If you are sick with Covid-19, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial, or are looking for a plasma donor match, check in with your local hospital, university, or blood center for more; you can also find more information on trials at The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. And lastly, Tatiana Prowell's tweet that tipped us off is here. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and produced by Pat Walters. Special thanks to Drs. Evan Bloch and Tim Byun, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.