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Dr Vernon's Casebook: HEALTH MEMO.

MEN and women had a similar life expectancy at the beginning of the 20th Century.

But things have changed dramatically. Today the average woman can expect to live nearly a decade longer than the average man.

Why? Throughout the 20th Century men were taught to push themselves harder and harder.

They were encouraged to believe that in order to succeed as men they must succeed in life.

They were taught to be ambitious, aggressive and to put themselves under constant stress.

At the same time they were told they should be soft and understanding at home - and to expect the women in their lives to be independent rather than supportive.

The result of all this pressure and conflict was an increase in such stress-related diseases as heart attacks, strokes, ulcers and cancer.

But in the last decade or so things have changed.

Today women are taught they too must be aggressive and ambitious.

There is much talk these days of girl power.

At the same time they are also constantly being reminded that they must also be soft, delicate and feminine.

The result of all this late 20th Century stress and emotional conflict will be that female life expectancy will steadily fall over the early decades of the 21st Century to meet the level of male life expectancy.

Women who try to be as aggressive, ambitious and pushy as men will die young.

There's a pretty clear - and vital - health message in that.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Coleman, Dr Vernon
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:May 21, 2000
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