Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Marry a Younger Woman and Live Longer
A study from Germany's Max Planck Institute found that men who marry younger women live longer. The man' s chances of dying early are cut by 20% if the woman is between 15 and 17 years younger. If she was 7-9 years younger, the risk of premature death was reduced by 11%.
The study found women do not experience the same benefits by marrying a younger or an older man.
Women with younger or older husbands increase their chances of dying early by 20%. The study was conducted in Denmark on the entire population.
There are several theories to explain "why". One is that men who are healthier (to begin with) are better able to attract younger women. Perhaps these young women are taking care of the old dude when he gets sick and that helps him live longer. Or perhaps the older men who have more money (and thus more access to healthy living and health care) are better able to attract younger women. I don't think too many old, decrepit, poor guys are able to get a young wife. Maybe the older man with a younger wife stays in better shape because he is afraid of losing her?
I couldn't find the actual study to review (as I usually do for my readers). I would ask what about men who marry women significantly younger than themselves; the 70 year old man with the 28 year old wife? What about women who never marry at all? Perhaps they live the longest?
The study could easily have been titled "Marrying an older man is bad for your health."
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 7:17 AM