Obesity is Associated with Social Relationships among Older Women

Oct, 2021 - By SMI

Obesity is Associated with Social Relationships among Older Women

The researchers found that women who are separated, divorced, widowed, or single and had no social ties have higher odds of general and abdominal obesity.

According to the new research from the research team from the University of British Columbia (UBC), women who lack social relationships have a greater chance of being obese. On the other hand, men with similar social ties are less likely to be obese. Obesity is often accompanied by other chronic health conditions such as arthritis, certain cancers, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. During this research, the researchers used the Canadian Longitudinal Study data and examined the social links of around 28,238 individuals aged 45 to 85 years.

The team then analyzed how these all are linked to general obesity, body mass index, and waist circumference. The researchers found that women who are separated, divorced, widowed, or single and had no social ties have higher odds of general and abdominal obesity. Moreover, the team found women who lived alone, single, and had no social ties have the highest average waist size. On the other hand, the team found that men who lived alone, widowed, and had more social ties have the highest average waist size.

For instance, men who had around 219 social contacts have more chances of being obese compared to those with small social networks. A lot of literature suggests that marriage is health-promoting for men and possibly less for women. Therefore, the researchers looked for the different types of social ties and found that it is associated with obesity for women. The team did not inspect why these gender differences exist. According to the researchers, this is due to different social expectations and different gender roles. However, further research is required to understand these factors, says Zeinab Hosseini, lead author of the research. The research was published in July 2020 in the PLOS One journal.

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