Contempo Updates
January 22/29, 2003

Sex and Gender Factors in Medical StudiesImplications for Health and Clinical Practice

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Office of Research on Women's Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.


Contempo Updates Section Editor: Janet M. Torpy, MD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(4):397-400. doi:10.1001/jama.289.4.397

Males and females have different patterns of illness and different life spans . . . Understanding the bases of these sex-based differences is important to developing new approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.1

The US Census Bureau projects that the US population will have increasing numbers of women in the next decades and a greater proportion of the population will be elderly and nonwhite persons.2 Women are the major consumers of health care, the major consumers of prescription drugs, and the primary decision makers about health care for their families.3 As attention is directed to improving health of and health care for women, sex and gender differences in research design and regulatory policies interface with clinical practice. An interdisciplinary, inclusive approach to health care based on sex- and gender-specific data is sought by consumers of health care, especially women.46

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