An imbalance of female sex hormones among men in Western nations may be contributing to high levels of male obesity, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.
James Grantham compared obesity rates among men and women from around the world with measures such as Gross Domestic Product to determine the impact of affluence on obesity. He found that while it was normal for women in the developing world to have significantly greater levels of obesity than men, the developed world offers quite a different picture.
“Hormonally driven weight gain occurs more significantly in females than in males, and this is very clear when we look at the rates of obesity in the developing world,” Mr Grantham says.
“Exposure to estrogen is known to cause weight gain, primarily through thyroid inhibition and modulation of the hypothalamus. Soy products contain xenoestrogens, and we are concerned that in societies with a high dietary saturation of soy, such as the United States, this could be working to ‘feminize’ the males. This would allow men in those communities to artificially imitate the female pattern of weight gain.
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