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January 1, 1982

The ups and downs of disease rates and sex

JAMA. 1982;247(1):14-19. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320260006004

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Examination of age-adjusted death rates for men and women in the United States for 1950 to 1978 shows that the "Weaker Sex" remains the stronger sex.

According to data presented by Dorothy P. Rice, director of the National Center for Health Statistics, at a Johns Hopkins University symposium on the changing risk of disease in women, the death rate from all causes for women is still dropping, and it is still considerably lower than for men. Furthermore, the death rate from heart disease parallels the all-causes rate: It began to dip for men in the early 1970s, but it has been falling steadily for women since 1950. And the rate for women has always been lower than for men.

For cerebrovascular disease, age-adjusted death rates have been dropping steadily for both men and women for some time. However, while the rates for women remain lower, the difference in rates is