A summary of sex differences in fat loss

In losing body fat, women differ from men in that they generally have:

• a higher proportion of body fat (15–35 per cent of body mass compared with 12–24 per cent in males)

• a greater proportion of their fat stored in the lower body, gluteal fat cells (fat stored in gluteal cells is harder to shift, even with food restriction)

• less lean muscle tissue, therefore a lower resting metabolic rate and lower overall need for energy

• greater compensation of energy intake follow-ing exercise

• a potentially greater appetite for high energy or ‘energy-dense’ foods which can lead to yo-yo dieting, or frequent ups and downs in body weight

• more labile fat stores on the breast and upper body than on the hips and lower body.

Bobby can be the spitting image of great-uncle Fred, or Jeannie have the hips of her grandmother Marge. That’s the luck of the draw. It doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to help, but it does mean that some family members will find it harder to keep their weight stable than others.