Sex Differences in Obesity Associated with Total Fertility Rate
2010 (English)In: PLOS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 5, no 5, e10587- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The identification of biological and ecological factors that contribute to obesity may help in combating the spreading obesity crisis. Sex differences in obesity rates are particularly poorly understood. Here we show that the strong female bias in obesity in many countries is associated with high total fertility rate, which is well known to be correlated with factors such as low average income, infant mortality and female education. We also document effects of reduced access to contraception and increased inequality of income among households on obesity rates. These results are consistent with studies that implicate reproduction as a risk factor for obesity in women and that suggest the effects of reproduction interact with socioeconomic and educational factors. We discuss our results in the light of recent research in dietary ecology and the suggestion that insulin resistance during pregnancy is due to historic adaptation to protect the developing foetus during famine. Increased access to contraception and education in countries with high total fertility rate might have the additional benefit of reducing the rates of obesity in women.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 5, no 5, e10587- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-136558DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010587ISI: 000277563400005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-136558DiVA: diva2:377297