Following news this week that we're physically weaker today than our grandmothers' generation comes this cheery report: women need to work harder than men to lose weight.
You read correctly. Coinciding with Healthy Weight Week comes a study by University of Missouri Professor Jill Kanaley in the journal Metabolism that shows that women have to work harder in the gym, and diet more frequently, in order to achieve the same results as men.
The study looked at 75 obese men and women with Type 2 diabetes. The group was monitored on a 16 week aerobic program and their recovery time, blood pressure, heart rate, weight loss and general fitness recorded.
The program was tailored to each individual's ability so that they would be working at (their personal) 65 per cent effort. But despite all group members exercising for the same time and at the same speed, women did not fair as well as the men, who lost more weight and improved their fitness far more than the women.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, one of the main factors behind the men's success is body composition, i.e. men (generally) have more muscle than women, and muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat.
What does this mean for the ladies? The study found that a woman must work to 85 per cent effort to achieve the health benefits a man will get exercising at 65 per cent. That, or work out at 65 per cent for a longer period of time.
Oh and here's the rub - men can generally lose weight through exercise alone but women need to step up in the cardio department and cut down on their diet.
The main result of the study is that a one-size-fits-all approach will not yield results in weight loss across genders.
"These findings could help health providers and researchers develop targeted exercise interventions for obese women." said Professor Kanaley.
This has big implications for overweight and obese Australians, particularly those suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
According to Australia's First Assistant Statistician at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Dr Paul Jelfs,"[N]early two-thirds (63 per cent) of the population are now classified as overweight or obese," he said.Figures from the Australian Health Survey (2011-2012) also showed that men were more likely to be overweight or obese (70 per cent) than women (56 percent) while one-quarter (25 per cent) of our children are overweight or obese.