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Men, Women & Weight

Australians are rated with Americans as the fattest people on earth. Consumers spend an estimated $500 million annually on weight control programs and products.

Around 80% of Australian women think they are overweight and 46.5% are. Whereas 63% of Australian men are overweight and only 30% see themselves this way.

If you didn’t already know, aside from the obvious, men and women are different. This is especially so when it comes to weight control. We’re are different physiologically, psychologically and sociologically.

Too much fat around a man’s gut is unhealthy. Not enough fat on a woman’s hips and thighs is unhealthy.

Women don’t use as much energy as a man for the same amount of exercise.

Men don’t think they’re fat and they are. Many women think they’re fat and they’re not.

Women exert peer pressure on other women to be pretzel thin. Men don’t care if another bloke is big that’s his business.

Complex cognitive (thinking) habits are more common in women than men. Simple behavioural (stimulus-response) habits are more common in men than women.

It’s difficult to get men involved in weight control programs. Women will try most things.

Weight & Stress

Lean women who are vulnerable to the effects of stress may be more likely to accumulate excess abdominal fat – increasing their risk for certain diseases, the results of a preliminary study indicate. “Our findings support the idea that greater life stress and stress reactivity can contribute to central fat, especially among lean women,” says Dr Elissa Epel, who conducted the study while at Yale University. According to the researchers, it is well established that people with diseases that cause extreme exposure to the stress hormone cortisol have excessive amounts of central or visceral fat.

Epel and colleagues investigated whether the relationship between cortisol and central fat is found among healthy people as well. Central fat tends to be highly sensitive to the effects of circulating stress hormones like cortisol. This type of fat cell responds to cortisol’s presence by increasing in size – thus heightening the risk of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Although everyone is exposed to stress, some people may secrete more stress-induced cortisol than others. Further, some people may secrete cortisol every time they face the same situation, rather than adapting to it. Researchers predicted that people who react to the same stressor each day by secreting cortisol would have greater central fat.

Source: US journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

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