A woman's body naturally contains more body fat than that of a man. This often answers the question on why women are plumper. A new evidence shows, however, that the female brain is not wired for weight loss, making it harder to lose weight.
Comprised of scientists from the University of Michigan, University of Cambridge and the University of Aberdeen; the study found that measures to curb obesity may be different between sexes.
It shows that losing weight may be harder for women because hormones called proopiomelanocortin (POMC) peptides, which control appetite, physical activity and energy expenditure, do not work similarly in both men and women.
Published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, the study reveals that the brain cells, which produce a hormone that regulate body weight does not perform at the same rate in female and male obese laboratory mice. Therefore, the female mice are less likely to lose weight.
The team was able to transform obese male lab mice into lean and healthy mice through the use of obesity drugs. For female mice, however, the same effect did not materialize.
"Currently there is no difference in how obesity is treated in men and women. However, what we have discovered is that the part of the brain that has a significant influence on how we use the calories that we eat is wired differently in males and females," Professor Lora Heisler said.
Though the medicine reduced appetite in both sexes, it only helped moderate energy expenditure and physical activity in male laboratory mice. The source of the hormones, POMC peptides, does not intensely influence the same factors in female mice.
The study sheds light on the need for appropriate and individualized treatments for obesity in the future. These medications and treatments should take into consideration the sex of the patient to ascertain efficacy.
In 2014, 1.9 billion adults are obese and 600 million are overweight. In the same year, 15 percent of women are obese compared to 11 percent of men. The global prevalence of obesity more than increased twofold between 1980 to 2014.
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