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Study: More Women Than Men Desire Weight Loss

Survey of College Students Shows Only 5% of Women Seeking Weight Loss Are Overweight

More Women Said They Wanted to Lose Weight continued...

In other areas, men and women who wanted to lose weight had significant differences:

  • Women reported using more dieting behaviors than men.
  • Women were less satisfied with specific body parts (abdomen, buttocks, hips, and thighs).
  • For women, satisfaction (or lack thereof) with body parts relates to self-esteem more often than it does for men.
  • Women were more dissatisfied with their general muscle tone than men.
  • For men who wanted to lose weight, only one body image variable was significantly related to self-esteem: the size of sex organs.

Kashubeck-West says it has become "more acceptable" for women to exercise.

The majority did not report binge eating. However, about 26% of the men who wanted to lose weight reported binge eating, compared to 29% of the women in the same group.

Researcher's Perspective

The researchers didn't get a chance to talk to the students. Kashubeck-West says that she would want people to know that "there is too much emphasis in our society on how women look."

She suggests physical activity, sports, and exercise as ways to feel better in whatever body you have. Kashubeck-West also says "staying away from fashion magazines" or at least understanding how media images are produced may also help. "There's a lot of airbrushing, a lot of meddling with images," she tells WebMD.

More Studies Needed

The number of men who wanted to lose weight was "somewhat small and so may not be representative of the larger population of men who want to lose weight," says the study.

More studies should be done on men who want to lose weight, as well as ethnicity and the desire for weight loss, say the researchers.

Kashubeck-West says she's currently studying body image and dieting behaviors in black women.

Further studies are needed to see if the findings also apply to older adults and those who aren't in college. "College students are a select group," says Kashubeck-West.

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