Gender differences in health reflect lifelong inequalities

NCDs are the leading cause of poor health in the EU, with varying impacts on women and men. Exposure and vulnerability to NCDs is shaped by biological factors, as well as gender roles and norms (WHO, 2019g). In particular, gender-specific mental health disorders also have different impacts on health status. Poor mental health also contributes to the overall burden of NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer[1] (Pikhart and Pikhartova, 2015; Stein et al., 2019).

This section covers specific aspects of the health status of the EU population from a gender perspective, namely self-reported health, health limitations, the main causes of premature death, mental well-being and the prevalence of mental disorders. It also explores how social determinants and gender norms affect health.

Men are more likely to perceive their health as good

Women are more likely to have health limitations over their lifetime

The main causes of premature mortality are gendered

Women report poorer mental well-being than men

Gender differences in mental disorders begin early in life

Gender-based violence

Work stressors

Traditional norms of masculinity

Body image drives poor mental health, especially in youth