Do Men Really Care About Their Weight?

In April 2011 the BBC reported an interesting story about men’s attitudes to weight and health. According to Peter Baker, the CEO of Men’s Health Forum, men today are still not aware of the serious health problems with being overweight, and many simply do not care. However, what is very interesting is that when men do start to care, it seems that they are better at taking action and losing weight than women.

This is backed up by numerous studies and reports by the Open University. The trend that really highlights this problem is that whereas obesity is generally a bigger problem for less wealthy women, in the higher earning population men are more likely to be obese and women are often most likely to be a healthy weight.

It seems that women with money, and more time on their hands, are far less likely to gain weight. Many have the luxury of being able to join gyms and health clubs in addition to being more concerned about their appearance for reasons of social acceptance.

Men Aged 35-54 Are More Likely To Be Overweight

Across the whole population of the UK men between the ages of 35 and 54 are more likely to be obese than women. This is the time when most men will stop playing sports and socialize less and settle down to family life which often means eating more and doing less.

Women on the other hand are constantly confronted with images of the “perfect woman”, female celebrities and all the advice they need to help them to lose weight and tone up. In fact, for many years there were no magazines to advise men on how to get in shape – there was simply a lack of demand. Now we do have magazines such as Men’s Health, and also MotleyHealth of course, which receive many male readers who are looking for weight loss and fitness advice, however, the majority of interest is still from women.

Prevalence of obesity in England in men and women in 2002 by age group.
Prevalence of obesity in England in men and women in 2002 by age group.

Wealthy Men More Likely To Become Obese

The chart shown above covers a cross section of men in the UK. However, other studies have shown that the sector of the population that is become more obese at the fastest rate are the wealthy men, those who work in the most highly skilled jobs and are generally business managers.

It is currently predicted that by the year 2050 as many as 52% of all men within social class V (the wealthiest) will be obese. However, only 15% of the wealthiest women will be obese.

At the other end of the scale, it is predicted that by 2050 that amongst the poorest people 60% of men will be obese and 62% of women – almost that same percentage.

Men Are Not Bothered

The reason is that men are simply not bothered about it. Most men just get on with life and assume that everything will be OK. Health never seems to come first in their minds. This is really tragic considering the number of men that die of heart failure in their 50’s and 60’s every year, so many lives cut short.

Men Do Not Realize The Health Problems

We have reported on this in the past, but the situation remains. Men are just not aware of the health problems associated with having a bit of a “beer belly”. Even the term “beer belly” makes the condition seem less serious than it is.

Do You Care?

Only by truly understanding the real issues of obesity can we start to develop plans that will encourage more people to get up and lose weight. The problem today is no longer an issue with lack of information, as the information on how to lose weight is plentiful. The problem is motivation and making people care.

Men Are Better At Losing Weight Than Women

It seems that when it comes to weight loss, men are simply better at it that women. In February 2011, the Daily Mail reported a story of how an overweight couple decided to lose weight together, and even though the woman ate less food than her husband, he lost more weight. In fact, John Wyllie became Cambridge dieter of the year after dropping from 27 stone (378 pounds) to 15 stone (210 pounds) in just 11 months.

“Although women diet more frequently, men are actually more likely to succeed.” Dr James Stubbs, research specialist for Slimming World.

The reason has been explained by health scientists. Men find it easier to follow strict rules and are generally more practical and goal-orientated than women. Another way to explain it, men are often more stubborn and just keep struggling on no matter what.

Jane Michell from explains another strength that men have: Men consider a weight loss diet as a single task with a start date, end date and specific targets along the way. Women generally consider weight loss to be a permanent change to their way of life.

Although to maintain a healthy weight you do need to make a permanent change, women constantly battle against this change, even years after they successfully lose weight. Women are also more tempted to try the latest fads, whereas men will take a more objective approach and follow tried and tested methods such as healthy eating and intensive exercise.

Belief and Determination

Often men succeed simply because they have total belief in what they are doing and know that they cannot fail, whereas women often set themselves up for failure, they want to lose weight but think that it is not possible for them due to some quirk of their nature or genetics.

However, it is not just the mindset, but hormones. Men have more testosterone that makes burning fat easier. Exercise leads to greater muscle development in men which increases metabolism and allows them to train harder. Women have more estrogen which actively encourages fat accumulation.

One advantage that many women have over men though is the support they receive from friends. Studies have shown that women who exercise with friends lose more weight than those that exercise alone. Men on the other hand are more likely to exercise alone and then socialize after exercise.


Too many men ‘unconcerned’ about weight health risks – BBC News

Why ARE men better at losing weight than us women? – Daily Mail

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