A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that women in countries across the globe, report being in poorer health than men [1]. The WHO administered a survey to over 250,000 individuals in 59 countries, which asked participants to answer questions regarding chronic health conditions, the ability to partake in daily activities, and overall wellbeing. Across all geographical regions and age demographics, women were more likely to report being in “poor health” and exhibit greater limitations in their daily activities.

Does this mean that women worldwide face health inequities due to their gender or their biological makeup? The study authors suggest it may be a combination of both. First, biological factors dependent on sex may play a role in disease incidence, prevalence, symptoms, age at onset, and severity. Yet, sociological factors such as discriminatory values and behaviors towards women coupled with biases from healthcare systems may factor into poor health outcomes.

The WHO is currently conducting additional research necessary to determine if the self-reported “poor health” matches to actual clinical and biological data through the study on Global Ageing and Adult Health [2]. This will provide a clearer view on where women’s health issues stand across globe.



1.    Boerma et al., BMC Public Health. 2016; 16:657.
2.    World Health Organization