chapter  1
12 Pages

Technical Problems in Comparing Data for Male and Female Subjects

A variety of technical considerations conspire to obscure the nature and extent of fundamental biological differences between women and men.

In the contexts of physical activity and aging, dominant issues include:

• The impact of gender and age-related differences in body size and composition upon physical performance and related measures of functional capacity,

• Gender differences in anatomy, particularly alignment of the bones and resulting differences in the mechanical efficiency of movement,

• Gender differences in physiological and biochemical characteristics, particularly hemoglobin level, and thus the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood,

• Problems in matching habitual physical activity and initial levels of physical fitness between women and men,

• The choice between relative and absolute units when making gender comparisons of the rate of aging, and

• Nonlinearities in the aging process imposed by both female and male menopause.