Men and women put on weight for different reasons
Researchers have studied the explanations we give for gaining weight, and it shows that men and women give different causes.
The most frequent explanation for men is life‐course transitions, such as starting work, changing job, getting married, becoming a father. These changes in routine put obstacles in the way of physical activity. Where men ate for comfort this was related to work, unemployment or money worries.
For women, 4 themes presented.
- Overeating related to intimate social relationships (e.g. I did not receive adequate love in my childhood, I feel insecure in this relationship etc.)
- Psychological transitions such as puberty, pregnancy, menopause
- Changes in social relationships (e.g. when I met my husband, when we moved in together, etc.)
- Psychological drugs, such as anti‐depressants.
Women are more likely to relate the beginning of their weight problems to their biology (which is more complex than men's with more transitions) and to problems in their intimate and personal relationships.
In contrast, men see both changes in their work and financial situation and the associated stresses as the reasons for eating more. And they blame injury or other external circumstances for reduced activity levels.
When it comes to overeating, women typically invoke family obligations, whereas men allude to obligations outside the family.
The authors suggest that the fact that the use of drugs came up as a distinct theme in women but not in men, may be related to the fact that these drugs are far more commonly used by women than men.
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