Women in low- and middle-income countries, especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, may be 10 times more likely to have obesity or heart health issues than their male counterparts, according to a large meta-analysis published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The researchers included 3,916,276 people in the meta-analysis and found obesity does not manifest evenly across women and men in low- and middle-income countries, with women being 2-3 times more likely to be affected than men. They found the greatest disparity in the risk of obesity between women and men is in the Sub-Saharan region, where women are up to 10 times more likely to have obesity than men.
The authors shared a few examples of the factors contributing to the higher rate of obesity in these women including:
- Weight gain during pregnancy and menopause.
- Beliefs that larger body types indicate high socioeconomic status, and fertility associated obesity in women as a sign of “wealth and health."
- Obesity risk seems to be positively and significantly associated with childhood deprivation in women but not men.
- Women are also more likely to be influenced than men by other factors predisposing them to obesity, such as poor dietary habits, sedentary lifestyles and price inflation.