Are women more likely to gain weight than men, well new research seems to point in this direction.
Over recent years women have been the target for weight loss campaigns with many claiming that they struggle to lose the pounds, especially in comparison to men and now research suggests that women do find it easier to gain weight than men.
New research from scientists in the UK and the US has found that women may be more susceptible to gaining weight because of differences in the brain compared to men.
The study found that the area of the brain that controls calorie use in the body is different in men and women.
Researchers used mice to investigate whether there was a difference between the sexes which could affect weight gain.
This research was not done purely for vanity reasons, weight gain is an important health risk that is putting huge pressure on health services around the world and scientists are trying to find new ways to try and tackle the problem by looking deeper into the reasons behind being overweight and obese.
According to a report by the Independent, the researchers were able to make obese, sedentary male mice healthy, however they were could not replicate this in female mice and it is this evidence that has led researchers to believe that the area of the brain that influences the use of calories within the body is different between the genders.
Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) peptides, hormones made in this area of the brain, regulate the appetite, physical activity, energy expenditure and body weight.
But what was very interesting about the research was that the study, published in the journal ‘Molecular Metabolism’ found that POMC neurons perform different functions.
“While the subset targeted by obesity medication lorcaserin influences appetite in both males and female mice, in males, this subset has the added benefit of also modulating physical activity and energy expenditure,” said lead author Professor Lora Heisler at the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.
However in female mice, physical activity and energy expenditure were not strongly affected.
“So, while medications targeting this source of POMC peptides may effectively reduce appetite in females, our evidence suggests that they will not tap into the signals in our brain that modulate physical activity and energy expenditure,” said Professor Heisler.
Professor Heisler hopes that this new research will be able to help tackle the global obesity problem, adding: “Currently there is no difference in how obesity is treated in men and women.