of overweight in the population represents a public health problem
of unprecedented seriousness.
is of more pressing importance for men, in the straightforward sense
that many more men than women are currently at risk. Already two thirds
of men in England and Wales are overweight compared to just over half
of women. If present trends continue, more than three men in every
four will be overweight by 2010 and almost one man in three will be
reasons, overweight men tend to accumulate fat around the abdomen.
Abdominal fat is strongly associated with increased risk of the most
damaging consequence of obesity, metabolic syndrome. According to
the World Health Organisation definition, men are significantly more
likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome than women.
have higher rates of the cancers most commonly associated with obesity
(excluding those that only affect women) and are more likely to die
earlier in life from heart disease or stroke - conditions which are
strongly linked to being overweight.
causes or exacerbates numerous other health problems of various degrees
present level of prevalence, male overweight is very damaging to the
national economy in terms of years of life lost, working days lost,
and in terms of the cost of caring for those affected.
of the prevalence of overweight differs between men and women. There
is a critical period in men's lives (when they are in their late twenties
and early thirties) when they are at greatly increased risk of gaining
weight. Women, on the other hand, tend to gain weight more evenly
across their lifespan.
factors for becoming and remaining overweight also vary between the
sexes. Men know less about diet than women, and are more likely to
drink alcohol to excess. Men are more likely to be physically active
than women - but most are nevertheless nowhere near physically active
enough to gain a health benefit. Men are less likely to be concerned
about becoming overweight, more likely to fail to notice that they
have gained weight, and more likely to deny that they have a problem
once they are overweight.
very little developed knowledge about how to engage with men on the
issue of weight and very clear evidence that most of the present support
systems are failing to work with men effectively.
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