Why We Have Weight Worries

   By drodriguez  Apr 19, 2010

The next time you look in the mirror in a scrutinizing way, you may want to consider what a new study reveals about women. The new study, coming out of Brigham Young University in Utah, shows that women worry about gaining weight much more than men.  Even the women who claimed to have a healthy outlook with absolutely no body issues showed brain activity to the contrary.  Researchers believe women are reacting to the expectations of society and media to be thin rather than something biological. 

A recent report from Fox News discusses the findings of the study.  Study researcher and neuroscientist, Mark Allen, describes what they saw during the course of their research,  Allen says, "Even though they claim they don't care about body issues...their brains are showing that it really bugs them to think about the prospect of being overweight."

The pattern of brain activity seen in the women's brain scans when they think about their weight is similar to brain activity seen in someone with an eating disorder, like anorexia.  A spike is seen in the area of the brain thought to be involved in self-reflection when normal weight women think of themselves as being overweight.  Most men's brain scans did not show this type of activity regarding their weight or body image, though male body builders who have taken part in Allen's research show similar brain activity patterns to bulimic women. 

The Fox News report suggests that the results should be a warning to women of just how easy it can be to fall into an eating disorder since our brain activity is so similar those already suffering. 

What do you think of the new study regarding the way women think about their weight?

Do you think we need to be more careful about the way we think about body issues?

Make a Comment

Beekah by Beekah | Wilder, ID
Aug 11, 2010

I don't think that our own body issues are based on part of our brain. I know many shapes and sizes of women who are/aren't comfortable with their image. It honestly just has to do with how well you feel regardless of what you see on tv or in person, but it has an influence. We all want to be beautiful and we all find different things beautiful, which is obvious when you walk down a street and see women with all types of hair styles and clothes and jewelry. If you are not comfortable with how you look you must first, find out why, then take the initiative to change how you look in a realistic and healthy way.

mommaduck by mommaduck | SAINT CHARLES, MO
May 20, 2010

I dont know one person that thinks they look great and are happy with themselves. I feel that i am overweight even though i am only 130 lbs. my husband tells me i look great but my wonderful brother (not) always calls me fat. I have had two kids and I do have a pudge and I am down about it. i never had a pudge until after my two cuties. I think the older my girls get the less vocal i should be about my weight. I know i'm not big but i feel i am and i want them to have confidence regardless of their size and I dont want them to be selfconscious about their weight. I do have to say though that they need to have more regular sized to overweight people on tv, magazines etc. people look at them and think that is how we should be

Xiulan by Xiulan | Houston, TX
May 01, 2010

This article has so much truth in it. I was always heavy as a child, teen, then as an adult. In my 20's I crashed dieted,. After watching magazine ads, television commercials, videos, and other negative ideals I finally found a healthy medium thru exercise, cutting all junk, and body acceptance.I no longer compare myself to the media hype on how a woman should look. Pretty soon all women will stop falling into the "media acceptance" trap.

cybrown551 by cybrown551 | HOOKSETT, NH
Apr 28, 2010

I definitely think that we should be more cautious to the way we think about body images. Everyone's body is different and it responds differently to different foods and diets. I believe that it is the magazines and commercials that make us as children believe that we should look a certain way. And if we saw more normal looking people in commercials and magazines then we wouldn't be so committed to one body type or style.

Foofie5 by Foofie5 | N TONAWANDA, NY
Apr 27, 2010

I think everyone has an impression that all heavy people are lazy. I totally do not agree with this. You should not be judged by your cover!! I am a plus size woman up until my forties I was thin Now I am heavy at 50yrs. So I have been on both sides. Women are always pressured to be the perfect woman like all of the TV images. They are not real people!!!

Orchid25 by Orchid25 | RINGGOLD, GA
Apr 27, 2010

I've been overweight since I was a child, it used to bother me growing up as a teen.. I tried numerous diets even pills. Im in my late 20's now and married, my husband doesn't care about my weight and compliments me all the time so I don't care that Im big. Im healthier now than I was as a teen taking all those diet pills. I've even lost weight, extremely slowly, but the healthy way and Im very happy.

Purplemommi by Purplemommi | MECHANICSVLLE, VA
Apr 24, 2010

I think it's society's fault for shoving the images of "ideal" women in our faces. Everywhere you turn there are these awful messages being burned into our brains. My daughter has had the idea that skinny equals pretty from the age of seven. I love how they are "warning women" to be careful but poor self esteem is being injected into us from childhood. I have always personally struggled with poor body image issues. Even now, I am 7 months pregnant and find myself wishing I had a "cute" pregnant body like those in maternity adds. It's a huge problem in this country.

cycoswmn by cycoswmn | GAYLORD, MI
Apr 22, 2010

"The new study, coming out of Brigham Young University in Utah, shows that women worry about gaining weight much more than men." This is news? I just had to laugh at that. ANd yes, I've struggled with my weight all of my life and I would not wish being overweight on anyone. I have more self-deprecating thoughts in one day than most people probably do in a month.

MyEmptyCanvas by MyEmptyCanvas | KOSCIUSKO, MS
Apr 20, 2010

Everyone needs to think better about themselves. Little things can spiral out of control so fast. I know for me, I eat to much of the wrong things and not enough of the right things. I've changed that this year -- eating better.. slowly. You can't make a complete 360 @ once.

Kristi by Kristi | WASHINGTON, WV
Apr 20, 2010

People base first impressions on the way you look. Attactive and fit people will always have the upper hand. As much as I hate that, we all know its true

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Apr 19, 2010

I agree with the comment on body builders, it's part of the training to connect mind with each muscle. Society in the US is harder on women then men when it comes to looks and weight. I like some of the things Jessica Simpson's new show The Price of Beauty has to say. It's not the same in all countries.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Apr 19, 2010

There is so much pressure to be thin...it's OK to want to watch your weight to be healthy, but we must be careful not to cross that very thin line of obsession and wanting to look like a super model.

BMDsMommy by BMDsMommy | Montgomery, TX
Apr 19, 2010

Seeing as how I have been overweight my whole life, I completely agree with this article. it is also easier for men to lose weight than women which in turns causes them to not worry about it. Plus, women love their men no matter what size they are, but this is the opposite for men looking at women...it is just the way it is.

maineac by maineac | STANDISH, ME
Apr 19, 2010

I happen to think that there's nothing wrong with caring a lot about how you look unless it becomes obsessive and hurtful to your body i.e. Bulimia or Anorexia. In fact, more American men and women could benefit from being more concerned about how they look... we are such an obese nation and the only way to fix that is to get off our butts to exercise regularly and start paying attention to eating more healthy foods. I love junk food as much as the next person, but I make sure to limit myself or add in more exercise to balance the calories so that I won't become one of the obese - it's really not so hard.

pjclayton57 by pjclayton57 | Oceanport, NJ
Apr 19, 2010

I think it's only normal that we care about how we look. Afterall, society has definitely pushed us on that based on how clothes are made, how models are paper thin and displayed for all the world to see prominently, and even how we are treated. I personally think that how we look based on body weight has an impact on how we feel about ourselves internally and in general. Americans in general has gotten too plump and don't eat right; we really need to do something to fix that, especially for our children's sake. I think what Jamie Oliver is doing with the schools in Project Revolution is a wonderful thing!