Men ‘more likely to stick with diets than women’, say health experts

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Fewer men join weight-loss programmes than women but they are more likely to stick with them, an analysis of international obesity studies has found.

The report found that middle-aged men are motivated to lose weight once they perceive they have a health problem they want to tackle.

They welcome the moral support of other men in weight-loss programmes and also prefer the use of simple “business-like” language and humour used sensitively.

Researchers from the universities of Aberdeen, Bournemouth and Stirling analysed evidence from around the world involving more than 15,000 men gathered from weight loss trials and studies.

They suggest that if weight-loss programmes were specifically designed for men they might be more effective at helping lose weight, which could reduce the risk of health problems like type 2 diabetes.

The team particularly investigated what would make services more appealing for men.

Chief investigator Professor Alison Avenell, a clinician from the Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen, said: “More men than women are overweight or obese in the UK, but men are less likely to see their weight as a problem and engage with weight-loss services, even though obesity increases the risk of many serious illnesses such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis.

“This could be because dieting and weight-loss programmes are perceived as being feminine activities.”