How is obesity related to poor health in women?

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Type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, heart disease and arthritis – how these chronic diseases and other health conditions relate to obesity is complex and not completely understood, but the research is clear that being obese or overweight is a risk factor for poor health, and that sex and gender are factors: women are more at risk if they are obese, than men.

Overweight and Obesity in Pregnancy: A Review of the Evidence 
By Jennifer R. Bernier and Yvonne Hanson, Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health and Prairie Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, 2012
Highlights that there are significant gaps in our knowledge of the psychological and emotional implications of overweight and obesity throughout pregnancy.

A Global Look at Cardiac Risk Factors 
The Washington Post, 2011
An interactive map you can click to watch the rise in BMI and diabetes – two of the major risk factors for cardiac (heart) disease – by men and women and by country throughout the world, from 1980 to 2008.

Walking a Thin Line: Addressing the Safety of Overweight and Obese Children and Youth in Canada 
By Barbara Clow and Jennifer Bernier, inRising to the Challenge: Sex‑ and gender‑based analysis for health planning, policy and research in Canada, Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, 2009, pp. 124-131
A sex‑ and gender‑based analysis of safety issues in overweight and obesity in children and youth, such as bullying and victimization, and notes the complexities of trying to deal with this issue that address safety concerns for both girls and boys.

Preventing Obesity in Women of All Ages – A Public Health Priority 
By Catherine Lombard and Helena Teede, Diabetes Voice, Volume 54, Special Issue, May 2009, pp. 23-25
Discusses the very strong links between obesity and diabetes type 2, and that women are far more likely than men to develop type 2 diabetes if they are overweight or obese.

Gestational Diabetes and First Nations Women: A Literature Review 
National Aboriginal Health Organization, 2009 
Explains why the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus is higher among First Nations than non-First Nations women and what the effects are on women and their children.

Maternal Weight and Pregnancy Weight Gain May Affect Daughters’ Obesity Risk
Women’s Health Matters, 2009
Reports on a study that suggests that a mother’s weight before and during pregnancy may be linked to her daughter’s risk of obesity later in life.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Women With Diabetes
By Kousta Eleni and Franks Stephen, Diabetes Voice, Volume 51, Issue 4, December 2006, pp. 23-25
Notes that a significant proportion of women with PCOS are obese. Explains that while the causes of obesity among women with the syndrome are unknown, the presence of obesity in women with PCOS further increases their risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Incident Arthritis in Relation to Excess Weight
By Kathryn Wilkins, Statistics Canada, 2004
Finds that women have a much higher likelihood of suffering from arthritis than men, and for both women and men, obesity is a risk factor for arthritis.

Overweight and Obesity in Women: Health Risks and Consequences
Medscape, 2003
Examines in detail the effects of obesity on women’s health.
You will need to register with Medscape to read this, but it is free.


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