Research published in the journal Molecular Metabolism suggests that women have a harder time losing weight than men.
During the study, scientists led by a team from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, were able to turn obese male mice into lean and healthy mice by manipulating certain parts of the brain, but the same transformation was not found in the female mice.
Certain brain cells produce a hormone called pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) peptides, which are responsible for regulating appetite, physical activity, energy expenditure and body weight. Targeting these cells may help in obesity treatments, but the POMC neurons work differently in males and females.
“Currently there is no difference in how obesity is treated in men and women,” said Professor Lora Heisler from the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, UK, who headed the research team. “However, what we have discovered is that the part of the brain that has a significant influence on how we use the calories that we eat is wired differently in males and females.”
Image by Calibe Thompson.