Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Weight-Loss Research Favors Women

In the world of medical research, men have traditionally been the
guinea pigs. Until the past few decades, almost all research on major
illnesses has focused on men. In fact, the male-favored gender gap
has been criticized as discriminatory, and critics have suggested that
it results in better medical care for men than for women. Why have
scientists tended to focus their research on men?

A key reason is that
men are simpler to study from a biological perspective. They do not
have the monthly and lifelong hormonal fluctuations that women
have; researchers need to control for women’s hormonal fluctuations
when conducting medical research on them. There is, however, one area in scientific research in which the vast
majority of studies and study volunteers have been women: weight
loss. Why? When researchers are recruiting participants for a weight-
loss study, the majority of the volunteers are women. In general,
weight-loss trials that are designed to include both men and women
include 80 to 90 percent women and only 10 to 20 percent men. As
you’ll learn from this book, this is due to the fact that men tend to be
less aware of their need to lose weight, and less focused on weight loss,
than women.


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