24 April 2018
TUESDAY, April 24, 2018 (HealthDay News) — It’s a long-held stereotype that men are less self-conscious about their weight than women. But a new study reveals that obese men are just as likely as women to be mistreated and stigmatized by others due to their excess pounds. Two out of five men surveyed said they’ve been on the receiving end of weight stigma, “which is really similar to what we see in women,” said lead researcher Mary Himmelstein. This is the first study to look specifically at weight bias targeting men, said Himmelstein, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. “This isn’t really something we think about as a problem for men. Men really aren’t on the radar when we think about weight stigma,” she said. “These results show it should be on the radar.” There are many ways overweight and obese people can be stigmatized about their weight. They can be outright teased or taunted, or have snide comments made about what they’re eating. They can also be stereotyped — “that you can’t control yourself around food, that you have no willpower, that you’re less intelligent than someone who has a slimmer waistline,” Himmelstein said. People might even think they’re doing these folks a favor, but they really aren’t, said Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C. “People tend to mistakenly believe if they are harsh with people, it will motivate them to lose weight — if they tease them a little bit or finger-point a little bit,” Kahan said. “There’s not a single study I know that supports that, and in fact there are several studies showing the opposite.” Weight bias instead tends to cause people to binge-eat and exercise less, leading to even greater weight gain, Himmelstein and Kahan said. For this study, Himmelstein and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,500 men from three groups — two online survey panels and a nonprofit advocacy group for the obese. About 40 percent of the men reported experiencing weight stigma, the researchers found. Verbal mistreatment was the most common form of stigma. It most often came from peers, family members and strangers, results showed. Men stigmatized over their weight tended to be younger, were less likely to be married, and were more likely to be obese rather than normal weight or overweight, Himmelstein noted. Kahan said that the results show that more research needs to be done exploring the differences in men and women’s experiences with weight stigma. The sources of weight stigma might differ between the two genders, Kahan added. For example, women might be more likely to receive comments from health care professionals than men. Men also might process and cope with weight stigma differently than women, he noted. “Just experiencing some sort of stigmatizing action or words from someone else, that’s not typically enough to cause harm in an individual,” Kahan said. “It’s when that individual internalizes that stigma, turns it in on themselves, and sort of believes it and takes it to heart, that’s when you start to see some of the mental and physical health problems with those stigmatizing situations.” Men could turn out to have a thicker skin than women when it comes to their weight, although Kahan is not certain of that. “We all have our theories, and I’m not so sure that men are able to shrug it off easier than women,” he said. The new study is published in the May issue of Obesity. More information The National Eating Disorders Association has more about weight stigma.
15 December 2017
FRIDAY, Dec. 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) — The skin disorder rosacea should be added to the list of chronic diseases linked to obesity, researchers report. Their large new study found that the risk for rosacea increases among women as weight rises. The researchers reviewed the records of nearly 90,000 U.S. women, tracked over 14 years. They found a 48 percent higher likelihood of rosacea among those with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35 than among women of normal weight. A BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. For example, a 5-foot-5-inch woman weighing 180 pounds has a BMI of 30. At the same height, someone who weighs 211 pounds has a BMI of 35. “Particularly considering the chronic, low-grade inflammatory state associated with obesity, and also the [blood vessel] changes caused by obesity, it is not surprising obesity may increase the risk of rosacea,” said study author Wen-Qing Li. He’s an assistant professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Brown University in Providence, R.I. “Our study holds general public health significance, [adding] rosacea to the list of chronic diseases associated with obesity,” Li said. “A healthier weight should definitely be encouraged for general health and well-being.” Rosacea is characterized by facial redness and flushing, bumps and pimples, skin thickening and eye irritation, according to the National Rosacea Society. It’s estimated to affect 16 million Americans. The condition typically develops after age 30. Symptoms can wax and wane, varying by patient. There’s no cure for rosacea, which is managed with oral and topical medications, antibiotics and laser treatments, among other therapies. Li and his team identified more than 5,200 cases of rosacea among tens of thousands of participants in the national Nurses’ Health Study. They were tracked from 1991 to 2005. Not only was the risk of rosacea markedly higher among those with BMIs above 35, but there was a trend toward higher risk for rosacea among those who had gained weight after age 18. What’s more, the likelihood of developing rosacea increased by 4 percent for every 10-pound weight gain in study participants. The researchers also noted significantly higher odds of rosacea as girth — waist and hip measurements — rose. Li said the findings may prompt dermatologists to advise their patients with rosacea to reach a normal weight to “relieve their disease,” though further clinical evidence is still needed. About a third of U.S. adults are classified as obese. Obesity has been linked to an increased risk for many health problems, including diabetes, cancer and early death, as well as inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne. Li also noted that his research didn’t delve into the various subtypes of rosacea, which can be triggered by different factors. Also, the study only found an association between obesity and rosacea, rather than a cause-and-effect link. “It is warranted to examine the effect of obesity on each type separately,” Li said. “A large-scale clinical study would also be required to confirm that losing weight helps the relief of rosacea severity.” Dr. Ross Levy, chief of dermatology at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said he wasn’t surprised by the study’s findings. He agreed with Li that obesity-driven inflammation could account for the increased risk for rosacea with weight gain. “I would never tell somebody that if you lose weight your rosacea will get better, but I would probably hint to them that it might,” said Levy, who wasn’t involved in the new study. “Obesity is probably the No. 1 killer in the U.S. No one thinks of it that way, but it has such a great impact on everything.” The study was published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. More information The National Rosacea Society has answers to common questions about rosacea.