Severe Obesity May Hit Men Harder
Men Have More Problems Handling Carbs, Less Endurance, Say Researchers
WebMD News Archive
July 11, 2005 -- Severe obesity may be harder on men than on women, new
That's what scientists saw in a small group of severely obese people -- 22
men and 34 women. Data came from blood samples and endurance tests on
The results show that severely obese men had more trouble handling
carbohydrates and less endurance than the women.
"It appears that carbohydrate intolerance is more common in obese men,
which would cause them to be less physically fit than obese women," says
researcher Emile Dubois, MD, PhD, FCCP, in a news release.
The findings appear in the July issue of Chest.
Fat Location May Matter
The participants were enrolled in a hospital's weight management program.
They each had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40.
Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or more. A person who is severely obese
has a BMI of greater than 40. Obesity is the principle driver for the metabolic
syndrome (a cluster of risk factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
and heart disease) and diabetes, they write.
Obesity-related heart disease and diabetes risk are specifically related to
upper body fat distribution, they add.
In men, obesity tends to gather around the upper body. In women, it's often
centered in the lower body, write Dubois and colleagues.
"It is possible that women are better equipped for energy storage due to
their inherent need to feed their offspring," write Dubois and
Dubois works in the pulmonary diseases department of the Hospital Reinier de
Graaf Groep in the Netherlands.
Obesity Common in the U.S.
About one in three U.S. adults aged 20 or older (60 million people) is
obese, according to the CDC.
Adding those who are overweight but not obese (BMI of 25-29.9), the figure
rises to 65% of the same age group.
The CDC does not provide statistics on severe obesity.
"Obesity can lead to impaired lung function, sleep disorders, [heart]
disease, and other health conditions," says Paul Kvale, MD, FCCP, in the
"Therefore, health care providers should encourage their obese patients
to lose weight and assist them in doing so in a healthful manner," he
Kvale didn't work on the study. He's the president of the American College
of Chest Physicians.