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In Prisons; Women Put on Weight and Men Lose it

In Prisons; Women Put on Weight and Men Lose it

(ePharmaNews) – Spending several years in prison makes women chubbier compared to behind-bars peers, while men become slimmer, according to a new study published in The Lancet.

A team of researcher at Oxford University found in a study that included more that 60,000 prisoner around the world that female prisoners were 20% more likely to be obese compared the female general population (other that the U.K.), while male prisoners tend to be slimmer than the general population by rates that differ from a country to another. The researchers stressed that the importance of these result are not in the differences between the habits inside and outside jails, but it is rather the necessity of taking real steps to prevent or reduce the risk of the major non-infectious disorders that are caused by obesity and kill three out of five persons in the world; such as cardiovascular disorders.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasingly viewed as a global health crisis, demonstrated by an escalating prevalence of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and respiratory disease. The four key modifiable risk factors identified for NCDs are smoking, alcohol, inadequate physical activity, and unhealthy diet. Though no data is available about the exercises and diets in all prisons around the world, some prisons have excellent standards to fight NCDs; prisoners of Australia for example spend 150 minutes more in physical exercises per week compared to the general Australian people.

The authors say that diet could go some way to explaining gender differences in the findings. They say: “the analysis of prisoner diets showed that while male diets in high-income countries provide an appropriate calorie intake, female diets provide a substantial excess of total energy. The evidence suggests that female prisoners are simply supplied with a diet designed for males.”

They conclude: “Prisons present a unique public health opportunity for health promotion among vulnerable groups who are difficult to engage with in community settings... The costs to the individual and to society of failing to address these important public health issues are likely to be substantial. However, in view of the renewed interest in NCDs, recent calls for action, and the recognition of substantial inequalities in access to NCD prevention between and within countries, it is timely that prisons across the world should play an important part in NCD prevention. Studies in Australia and Japan describe how the prison regime can favorably influence NCD risk factors, thus showing that improvement of prison regimes and environments in such a way that favors health promotion and reduces modifiable risk factors is possible. The challenge remains to ensure that every prison provides a healthy diet and ample opportunities for physical activity.”

Finally, many previous studies have recorded the differences in diseases' prevalence between male and female prisons, this study may add obesity as one of them, but it absolutely does not rule out that these disorders, whether physical or psychological, play a rule in the current results.

اضغط هنا للقراءة باللغة العربية

Prepared by: Basel AlJunaidy
Translated by: Awss Zidan

Source :


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