Medically reviewed by Shanmukha Priya, M.Phil and Ph.D. in Food Science and Nutrition
Women are more health conscious and count calories whenever and whatever they eat. Despite this fact, it is generally found that female suffer from obesity more than their male counterparts. It is important to know that obesity in women has a different pattern compared to obesity in men.
The fat deposition pattern in women
The deposition of fat differs with gender, based on physiological activities of fat cells. This, in turn, is driven by the specific regulatory functioning of hormones.
The fat distribution pattern is termed differently in both men and women.
Android fat distribution– Here, the focus area of fat storage is trunk/abdomen area. It is also known as ‘central fat storage’.
Such a storage pattern gives an ‘apple’ like appearance with a wider waist as compared to hips. It is seen more in males.
Gynoid fat distribution– This pattern is characterized by excess fat accumulation around the hip, thighs and bum region. It results in a ‘pear’ shaped appearance owing to larger hips than abdomen or waist. It is a prominent characteristic feature in females.
If you are also a health-conscious woman who is facing a similar problem, here are ten points to know about the obesity pattern in women.
10 points to know about obesity pattern in women
The obesity in women is due to the following reasons:
1. The fat storage pattern varies from woman to woman:
The fat storage pattern is unique for every woman. Some women are likely to gain weight on the stomach, some on the hips and some on the waist only. Some are likely to acquire weight on back, chest, and hips and some on hips and the stomach.
This is due to the dominance of one or the more of the following glands, viz. thyroid, ovaries, pituitary, and adrenals. It has been found through the researches that several foodstuff help in stimulating one or the other hormone and are predominant causes of obesity in women.
For example, chocolate and caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee are likely to stimulate the thyroid gland. Food items rich in omega-3 fats and vitamin-C affects the secretion of cortisol hormone. Similarly, foods like legumes, green leafy vegetables, green tea, and probiotics regulate estrogen level.
As per individual and her physiological and psychological conditions, the hormone secretion, regulation, and functioning vary. This, in turn, affects the nutrients assimilation and its storage as well.
Hence, it is vital to limit the consumption of food items that stimulate such changes and replace it with non-stimulating ones. It will help your gland to rest for a while and would get recharge over time leading to weight loss.
2. Pregnancy is a phase which is not to be entirely blamed:
Everyone knows the fact that this most precious phase of a woman’s life brings a few extra calories which are difficult to shed off. It is quite obvious that during pregnancy a woman tends to get more weight of about 10-12 kg. You might be facing a similar situation.
The weight gain pattern during pregnancy stage varies and distributed among amniotic fluid, body fluids, breasts, uterus growth and fetal growth .
But it is wrong to consider pregnancy as a permit to eat all the junk stuff. Managing an unhealthy craving is a must during pregnancy as it, besides adding more pounds to your body, will be detrimental for your baby also.
Therefore, although weight gain is a natural process during pregnancy, it should not exceed the healthy weight limit set by standards like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
3. Your genetic predisposition matters a lot:
Every time bad eating habits can’t be blamed for the extra weight. There are many instances in which the genetic makeup of the person plays a crucial role in weight gain among women.
Although there is nothing like fat genes, certainly the genes which code the metabolic functions can make you overweight.
4. Emotional upheavals are also a crucial factor:
According to a study published in Psychiatry Research, it is seen that psychological factors affect women more than men in causing depression . The woman is more likely to experience negative thought in her life and finds solace by indulging in junk stuff for relieving the pain and confusion.
In case of such emotional instances, the hormonal level also disrupts causing excess secretion of cortisol hormone that affects metabolism and also, utilization and deposition of the nutrients, specifically, fat.
In fact, if the emotional turmoil lasts for a long time, she is likely to suffer from phases of binging, starving and again binging. Such a situation can adversely affect your overall physical health, ultimately leading to gradual weight gain.
5. Your eating habits play a crucial role:
It is a common saying that what we eat is what we are. It is not only what we eat but also how much we eat. It is generally seen that women are mostly responsible for all the kitchen duties, and she is likely to taste and taste again the puddings, cookies, cakes, pizzas to prepare the best meals for her family.
Moreover, her close proximity to food is likely to make her eat more. The result is obvious; women like you, are more prone to gain weight more and more.
It is better to avoid highly processed foods that cause obesity such as cakes pastries, cakes, cookies, pasta, burgers, etc. Moreover, small frequent meals should be encouraged but not the nibbling.
6. Lack of physical activities matters a lot:
When does the woman get time to do exercises? Most of the time you are actually engaged with children, cooking, and household work and in such a scenario, exercising really takes a back seat.
There has to be an ideal balance between calorie consumption and calorie burnt for maintaining homeostasis. The busy and occupied schedule of women constraints them for much of exercise resulting in the fat accumulation.
As per the study published in the American Journal of Medicine, it was seen that in the last 10 years, the incidence of weight gain has increased in absence of physical activity keeping the calorie intake constant .
However, exercising is the best cure for obesity.
7. Female hormones are also a culprit:
Yes, it may sound absurd but yes female hormones are really responsible for weight gain in women.
For example, when the estrogen level is in abundance, the woman is likely to have water retention, cellulite, extra weight in the thighs and hip region and increased breast size.
Another hormone is cortisol which leads to visceral fat around the internal organs, resulting in extra belly fat.
8. Drinking less water is also responsible:
In case you are drinking less water, you might confuse thirst with hunger. As a result, you are likely to eat more leading to weight gain.
As one study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, it was seen that drinking 500 ml water increases metabolic activity by 30 percent in both men and women . This is known as water-induced- thermogenesis.
Therefore, keeping yourself dehydrated will slow down the pace of metabolism resulting in weight gain. Moreover, drinking less amount of water might result in water retention leading to swelling in the body.
9. Weight gain varies with age:
It has been seen that women are likely to gain more weight during menopause. The decreasing muscle mass makes it difficult to burn calories, resulting in increased fat.
Moreover, changes in hormones, specifically, estrogen during menopause, leads to weight gain around the hips and abdomen .
However, increasing weight during menopause has to be checked at any cost as it invites several diseases such as type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, breathing problems and heart disorders.
10. Drinking alcohol makes it difficult to burn fat:
If you are drinking alcohol, you are likely to gain more weight. Firstly, alcohol is calorie-laden hence leads to weight gain. Secondly, it is accompanied by high-fat foods such as nuts, fried stuff like French fries leading to more weight gain.
Its frequent consumption accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle will obstruct the efflux of calorie resulting in weight gain.
These were the causes of obesity in women. You may be a victim of one or two factors which is responsible for your weight gain. However, prevention of obesity is utmost important for keeping the disease at bay.
Our suggestions are to stay active by indulging in physical activities like walking, exercising and yoga, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid processed food and alcohol and drink plenty of water. So what have you decided?
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