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A weight-loss battle of the sexes

What inspires women to lose weight? Swimsuit season, weddings, family and class reunions, holiday parties and other events that put her in the spotlight. For men, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated blood lipids, sleep apnea and back or joint pain inspire the need to "get in shape."

Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International, is author of a new book", She Loses, He Loses" that looks at the differences in how the sexes approach diet and exercise.

"Men generally turn to exercise first, which can be a problem because it takes a phenomenal amount of exercise to lose weight with exercise alone. They go to the gym, and when the weight doesn't melt right off, they are surprised and get discouraged," Miller-Kovach says.

Here, a quick chart that shows her findings.

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WEIGHT LOSS FACTORS:

ACCURACY ESTIMATING WEIGHT STATUS

WOMEN: Quick to realize she's overweight

MEN: Usually underestimates amount of weight he needs to lose

WEIGHT-LOSS VERNACULAR

WOMEN: "Diet"

MEN: "Get in shape"

HISTORY OF DIETING

WOMEN: Lots, a variety of approaches and failures

MEN: Not much, so more confident of success

KNOWLEDGE ABOUT DIETING

WOMEN: Generally knowledgeable about nutrition; attuned to diet and weight-loss news

MEN: Lacks basic knowledge about science of food and weight loss

EXERCISE

WOMEN: Beneficial to weight loss, but avoidable

MEN: Expected component of weight-loss success

OVERALL APPROACH TO WEIGHT LOSS

WOMEN: Quick to initiate, but prone to stop and start

MEN: Serious, disciplined, structured

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"She Loses, He Loses: The Truth About Men, Women, and Weight Loss" by by Karen Miller-Kovach; John Wiley & Sons, $22.95

For more information, go to www.WeightWatchers.com or call 1-800-651-6000.

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