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“International Women’s Day” is celebrated by many countries around the world on March 8th.  This day that recognizes women’s rights actually started in the United States, but our country does not celebrate this nearly as much as other countries around the world.  The first identified event was in New York City in 1909 organized by a socialist movement.  Fairly quickly, the mantra was picked up by other countries and fast-forwarding to current times, there are many countries around the world (not the U.S.) that actually treat March 8th as a holiday.  My suspicion is that the “socialist” origins of “Women’s Day” have the United States not recognizing March 8th as a full-fledged holiday.

Turning to the subject that is usually discussed (except for my movie reviews) in this blog:  Weight Control.  In the SP Program, 88% of our new patient entries are women and only 12% men.   Does this mean that there are far fewer overweight/obese men than women?  The latest statistics I can find show an obesity rate of around 38% in men and 41% women.  This is a slight difference and certainly should not produce the over 7X amount of female entries to our program.  Pretty much every weight control program/product sales will show the same concept:  Women, much more so than men, will buy programs/products to try to help them lose weight.

First, let’s focus on why it is more difficult for women to control weight then men.  As people age, metabolism slow down occurs in all genders, but women are affected much more so than men.  Also, due to hormone and developmental issues, men tend to carry more muscle than women, women carry more fat and muscle burns more calories than fat.

Placing physiology reasons aside, there are also many more social challenges for women.  The days of June Cleaver from “Leave It To Beaver” are over.  More specifically, unlike previous decades when most females were “homemakers”, now in an ever-increasing fashion, females are driving more and more of the income needs for a family.  There are more women now in medical schools, graduate schools and law schools than males.   The pressure on a  woman to fulfill all of her professional responsibilities and at the same time, perform the (somewhat instinctual) role of the “nurturing Mom” leaves little-no time to focus on herself.

I know this is a generalization, but here goes:  Women much more than men will prioritize themselves last, with children, spouse, profession, extended family all coming first.  There often is a strong “guilt factor” in devoting time to “me”.  When this occurs, the necessary steps for successful weight control often fall by the wayside.  Spending time planning meals/snacks, shopping for the right foods, exercise time…all of these and more do not occur, hence the reason why weight control does not occur.  

As I tell many of my female patients:   YOU must be healthy to take care of everyone/everything else.  Do not ever feel guilty about spending the time needed for your weight control efforts.  YOU are the most important person of the family unit and if God forbid something bad happened to you medically, you will not be able to do all the things you do.  Make you and your weight control efforts a priority.

Happy Women’s Day!!!