Women, gender and obesity

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Obesity may well be one of the hottest health topics in North America today. We see and hear daily reports about ‘the war on obesity’ and ‘the obesity epidemic’. And how are women faring in this? 

  • While more men than women are overweight, women are more likely than men to be obese, as well to suffer from chronic diseases related to obesity, especially if the women are poor.
  • There is growing evidence that obesity in girls is fuelled by chemicals in the environment.
  • ‘Big food’ targets women, who do most of the shopping and feeding, in order to sell fat-laden products.
  • Overweight and obese women and girls face stigma, including workplace discrimination, and suffer far more than men and boys from eating disorders and body image issues. 

This primer looks at these issues and many more and guides you to the best resources to help you understand the complexities of obesity and the roles that sex and gender play. We cover these questions:

What’s the big picture on obesity?
Why (and how) are women likely to be obese?
How is obesity related to poor health in women?
Does the environment play a role in obesity?
How can we prevent obesity? 
Is obesity really an epidemic? Should we wage war on it?
Health at Every Size:  Can we make peace with obesity?