WOMEN LIVING OLDER… AND GETTING WIDER
Two discoveries from the world of science: one to make you feel good, the other… hmm.
Science has found the reason women live to be older than men.
Researchers from Monash University in Melbourne and Lancaster University in Britain have found that it’s genetics that makes women live, on average, four years longer than men.
The Bureau of Statistics says a girl born today can expect to live to almost 84 while a boy is expected to live to 80.
It’s been discovered that only females are immune to mutations carried in the mitochondria, which is found in every cell of the body.
While both sexes have mitochondrial DNA, only the mother passes it on to her children.
”It’s this strict maternal inheritance of mitochondria that has allowed mutations to creep in to mitochondrial genes that are harmful to males, while having no simultaneous effect on females,” said the Monash University evolutionary biologist Damian Dowling.
”When we take out those factors, there are genetic mutations which are tied to early male ageing and these same mutations have no effect on females.”
And a recent study by the University of North Carolina has concluded that our hips widen as we age.
(So give up trying to squeeze back into your old school uniform for boomer fancy dress parties.)
The expansion might be only 2.5 cm (one inch), as shown in the diagram above (age 20 in pink) to age 79 (in black). However, can it can also cause an increase in waist size of approximately 7.5cm (three inches) from the age of 20.
Senior author of the study, Professor of Orthopaedics Laurence E. Dahners reported “I think it’s a fairly common human experience that people find themselves to be wider at the age of 40 or 60 then they were at 20.
“Until recently we assumed that this was caused simply by an increase in body fat. Our findings suggest that pelvic growth may contribute to people becoming wider and having a larger waist size as they get older, whether or not they also have an increase in body fat.”
If the rest of the body is widening, this might account for a significant portion of an increase in body weight of about one pound a year that many people experience during the same period, Dahners says.
One pound a year for 59 years? That’s an almost 27kg weight gain between the ages of 20 and 79!
So how does that sound? Women have four more years more than men to spend looking for a bigger pair of pants.
Now, as you age you can say that you do have big (er) bones.
Of course you may have your own (non-scientific) theory as to why women outlast men…