Keeping track of one’s weight is important. Once a person becomes overweight, it is rather difficult for him or her to get back to the normal weight. Moreover, overweight has been found to cause many diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and Type-2 diabetes.
The general belief is that women tend to be more weight concerns. But according to a study published online by researchers from University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) on December 2, 2011 in the ‘Journal of Women's Health’, young women generally do not recognize recent gain of as many as 11 pounds, and awareness of weight gain also appears to be influenced by race, ethnicity and contraceptive methods.
Findings of the study showed that a significant number of women evaluated at 6-month intervals did not recognize recent gains in weight. Their findings also showed that nearly one-third and one-quarter of women did not recognize weight gain of about 4.5 and 8.8 pounds respectively during a 6-month interval. But black women and DMPA users were more likely to be aware of weight gain than their counterparts. DMPA stands for depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, commonly known as the birth control shot.
A sample of 466 women with an average age of 25 was surveyed. Among these women, about 37 percent were Hispanic, 35 percent non-Hispanic white and 29 percent non-Hispanic black women. Approximately 39 percent of them used DMPA, 36 percent used an oral contraceptive and 25 percent utilized non-hormonal contraceptive methods.
Over a period of 36 months, the women completed a symptom checklist every 6 months that included questions on whether they felt they had gained weight. Their data on height, BMI, physical activity and whether they had borne children were also evaluated.
Researchers were surprised to find that race and ethnicity are determinants of accurate recognition of weight gain, predictors that have never before been reported. On the findings on DMPA users were more likely to recognize weight gain, researchers believed that this could be because DMPA has been widely reported to be linked to weight gain, making users more mindful in monitoring their weight.
In order to realize significant changes, it is advisable for women to weigh themselves regularly. Based on the findings, though not necessarily representative of all women, doctors should also provide patient-specific counseling to address the frequent inaccuracies to recognize weight gain.