Women with little or no social connections are more likely to develop obesity than men with the same amount of social interaction, according to a new study by researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada.

The researchers analyzed the social contacts of 28,238 people between the ages of 45 and 85 and their relationship with body mass index, waist circumference and general obesity.

It was found that single women (unmarried, widowed, divorced) had a higher chance of developing abdominal and general obesity. Also, women who lived alone and had rare monthly social activity, or none at all, had the largest average waist size. While for males, it was the opposite. Those men who were married and had a lot of social contacts had a higher average waist size and a tendency to obesity than single men.

In this research paper, the researchers did not address the reasons for this difference between men and women, but suggested that it may in part be related to differences in gender roles and social expectations associated with these roles.

The study’s findings could help change the treatment of obese older single women by adding social activities to healthy eating and exercise.

Health professionals might recommend that elderly single patients, especially widows, participate in various social activities as a means of combating obesity. Says Zeinab Hosseini, lead author of the study.

Scientists believe more research is needed to help understand the causal relationships between social contacts and the health of older women and men.

Earlier, “Reedus” talked about how obesity affects male fertility.