A UBC study found that older women without social ties are more likely to be affected by obesity. (Submitted)

Obesity in older women linked to lack of social ties, UBC study

“Clinicians could be encouraging older women patients who are non-partnered, especially widowed women, to participate in social community interventions as a way to address obesity.”

Women without social ties have greater likelihood of being obese compared to men in the same situation, according to a new study from UBC published in PLOS One.

The study analyzed the social ties of 28,238 adults aged 45 to 85, linking that to stats such as body mass index and waist circumference – common indicators of general obesity. The study found that women who were single, widowed, divorced or separated had higher likelihood of being affected by general obesity than men.

“There is a lot of literature suggesting that marriage is health-promoting for men and potentially less so for women, so our results about marital status were kind of surprising,” said Annalijn Conklin, principal investigator of the study and assistant professor in pharmaceutical sciences at UBC.

Zeinab Hosseini, lead author of the study, said in a press release that more research is needed to completely “understand the factors at work,” but suggested that more needs to be done to encourage older women to build social ties.

“This would require clear implementation strategies, and a focus on social connection interventions by health care researchers and decision-makers,” said Hosseini.

ALSO READ: Canadians not getting enough light exercise during pandemic, UBC study finds

Conklin added that building these social ties could include activities like visiting friends and family, and engaging in group hobbies that encourage older adults to build connections outside their existing circles.

The study did not investigate why these gender differences exist, but Conklin suggested that they may be due to social expectations of gender roles.

“The type of work we did was taking a big data set and looking at how relationships affect men and women,” said Conklin. “That topic would require a completely different type of study, and maybe that’s the next step.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

HealthSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read