Obesity and overweight are a serious problem for many womenand: they are real pathologies of our age because, as triggering causes, they also depend on the environment, as well as on biology. In fact, the role of women in society and at work affects their lifestyle, which includes the way in which they eat and manage their weight. The gender imbalance in the home, for example, means that women are more involved than men in family chores and taking care of children and housework also takes time to self-care (including exercise). The side effect of a busy day is stress, known to increase cortisol, a hormone that facilitates hunger and weight gain. In turn, stress exposes you to the risk of anxiety and depression and to using food as an emotional regulator.
Comfort foods are usually junk foods as well, junk food with strong tastes and high in sugars, always at hand especially for those who stay at home all day. Having to store fat for reproductive functions, women tend to accumulate more fat mass and less lean mass and, for the same body weight, have a slower basal metabolism (the ability to consume energy at rest, ed), which in turn leads to less calories burned. Here then is how biology also hinders the female sex, in terms of weight, especially in three key moments of the body’s development: first menstrual cycles, pregnancies and menopause. These are critical periods for the weight control of women – confirms Michela Barichella, nutritionist Director of the UOS of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition at the Cto Gaetano Pini in Milan -: in the fertile age, hormonal variations increase hunger; in premenopause and menopause, with the decrease in estrogen, fat replaces lean mass. It is essential that in menopause it is decided to implement lasting and healthy changes in lifestyle. If a woman did not reduce the caloric amount of food and did not start exercising more, weight gain would certainly be progressive, year after year. We need to find a new balance between what we eat and what we consume, a balance that will be lower with regard to food than in the past, also because for equal weight a woman needs to eat less than a man who is her age. .
Again for physiological reasons, women have at least two other factors that row against them. With menopause, they are more likely to sleep less and poor sleep affects the production of hormones that increase appetite. Finally, they are also more sensitive to the effect of certain substances, such as alcoholic beverages. Like aperitifs, empty calories from alcohol overload a woman’s body (and mind) more than a man’s.
February 22, 2021 (change February 22, 2021 | 19:41)
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