A recent article in one of my favourite mass-market science magazines, New Scientist, asked the question ‘Why are men more likely to die from COVID-19?”. With high expectations I finally anticipated a piece explaining why lower estrogen affects the ability of men to store unlimited amounts of energy as leg and hip fat when compared to women, and how this means that men’s fat generates inflammatory hormones in response to too much fat storage, and how this causes countless metabolic diseases many of which are comorbidities for COVID-19 deaths.
BUT no, they start out waffling about how maybe it’s because more men smoke before dismissing that hypothesis, and end up with 50% of the article being about how maybe it might potentially possibly be caused by women maybe having naturally slightly stronger immune systems.
Somewhere in the middle of the article is a brief note on the fact that men, particularly older men have higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and lung and cardiovascular disease, and that if you factor these diseases into the statistics, men are no longer more at risk than women. Well NO SHIT. Guess what, if you factor in the fact that old people are older then they are no longer more at risk than young people. NOT HELPFUL, New Scientist.
What isn’t being mentioned is the big FAT elephant in the room. These diseases are largely caused by being out of shape, rarely exercising and eating too much, all in the short, medium and long-term.
Just as people who regularly do juice cleanses or eat a vegan diet are choosing to deprive their body of essential nutrients, people who drink 6 pints of beer and eat a whole pizza 5 times a week are choosing to consume far more calories than they need. Almost everything we do to ourselves is a choice, and every choice we make has consequences. I don’t want to hear any apologist whining about how genetics can make us more susceptible to bad choices when presented with bad options. Everyone knows that a fast-food burger with fries is worse for you than a Caesar salad, people just make a choice that they enjoy today and push the consequences to tomorrow.