Health News – A new study highlights how more career and family responsibilities lead to comfort eating and weight gain in middle-aged people. It recommends food education to curb obesity and educate the public about nutrition and lifestyle.
A recent study highlights the role of family and employment in the weight gain of obese middle-aged men.
The research, conducted at Anglia Ruskin University, surveyed 8 men, aged between 35–58, who were participating in The Alpha Programme (TAP), a football and weight management community project in the UK.
The researchers conducted in-depth interviews with the participants—exploring their diet, eating behaviors, attempts to lose weight, self-perceptions of being overweight, why they felt they gained weight, and if they were concerned about the dangers of obesity.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, show how family and employment play a role in obesity in the long run.
Many of the participants link factors like career and family responsibilities (such as having children, managerial job roles, etc.) to inevitable comfort eating, which in turn leads to obesity.
The results also show that discussions about their obesity make the participants unhappy. They show signs of self-objectification and low self-esteem. However, in spite of being aware of the physical and mental risks posed to their life by their ‘coping’ eating behaviors, they remain reluctant to change their lifestyle choices.
Lead author, Dr Mark Cortnage, said, “This weight gain takes place over years and decades and as such, short-term dietary options fail to influence the deeper behavioral and lifestyle issues.”
The study provides interesting insight into the role of comfort eating in obesity and ignorance surrounding nutrition. Coupled with unhealthy family-work relationships, these factors have fuelled weight gain in middle-aged people.
The researchers are enthusiastic that studies such as this can improve public health messaging around unhealthy food behaviors and nutrition. Food education should be made accessible to the general public, to help them with knowledge about sustainable diets, food selection, weight management strategies, etc.
To Know More You May Relate To
Cortnage, M., & Pringle, A. (2022). Onset of Weight Gain and Health Concerns for Men: Findings from the TAP Programme. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(1), 579. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010579