Women More Concerned About Losing Weight Than Men, New Research Finds
More than two
decades of research indicates that women are at a higher risk than men
for developing problems related to body image and satisfaction. Now,
researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia and University of
Missouri-St. Louis found that even when both men and women want to lose
weight, women choose to lose more and are more dissatisfied with
particular body parts. Most of the women in the study who wanted to
lose weight were not overweight.
examined gender differences in satisfaction with body parts and eating
disorders,"said Laurie Mintz, associate professor and director of
counseling psychology at MU, who conducted the study along with Susan
Kashubeck-West, associate professor in the Division of Counseling and
Family Therapy at the UMSL. "Results indicated that while men and women
exhibit similar concerns in overall body satisfaction, women are less
satisfied with specific body parts, such as the abdomen, hips and
examined 300 students from a large west coast university who were
divided into two groups, one that consisted of people wanting to lose
weight and another that consisted of people who did not. Both groups
completed questionnaires focused on binge eating, self-esteem, concern
with weight and appearance, weight discrepancy and demographics.
Kashubeck-West found that in the overall sample group, participants
felt at least somewhat satisfied with most body parts. Men did not
report dissatisfaction with any body part. Also, respondents felt at
least a moderate concern with weight and appearance, and said that it
affected their sense of themselves and other aspects of life.
In the group
wanting to lose weight, participants reported at least moderate
satisfaction with many body parts. Women were more dissatisfied with
general muscle tone and their weight, specifically in the abdomen,
buttocks, hips/upper thighs. They reported wanting to lose an average
of 11 pounds. In contrast, men reported very slight dissatisfaction
with their weight, wanting to lose only 9 pounds.
point, the researchers said, was that the majority of the women who
wanted to lose weight were not overweight and that there was a stronger
relationship between self-esteem and body satisfaction for women than
than men want to lose weight, which is related to many body image and
eating issues," Mintz said. "Naturally, more women suffer from these
issues and, in turn, face problems relating to body image, eating and
Ingrid Bayer of Texas Tech University also contributed to this study.