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Obese Man via Shutterstock
Man Up

How to tackle male obesity? Laughter, diet and being around other men

The research found that changing diet alone can lose more weight than doing more exercise.

MEN ARE LESS likely to join weight loss programmes but are more likely than women to stick with them.

That is according to analysis of international obesity studies led by University of Aberdeen researchers, supported, locally, by the Men’s Health Forum in Ireland.

The study also found that men prefer ‘business-like’ language, sensitive humour and the support of other men.

It says that male-specific weight-loss programmes would increase male health.

Researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen, Bournemouth and Stirling analysed evidence from around the world, gathered from weight loss trials and studies that have also taken men’s views. The team particularly investigated what would make services more appealing for men.

It also found that:

  • Obese men who eat less lose more weight than those who take more exercise but don’t eat less.
  • In the long term, one calorie-reducing diet has not yet been found to be better than another for weight loss for men.
  • Middle-aged men are motivated to lose weight once they perceive they have a health problem they want to tackle.
  • A desire to improve personal appearance without looking too thin is also a motivator for weight loss in men.
  • Group-based weight management programmes run only for men provide moral support.
  • Obesity interventions in sports clubs, such as football clubs, have been very effective, with low dropout rates and very positive responses from 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.”

Read: How football clubs helped male footie fans lose weight

Read: A Fine Gael senator wants to regulate ice-cream van chimes, but says ‘it’s about a bigger issue’

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