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Behavior and Obesity in Women Across the Life Span
  1. Sarah K. Keitt, MPH,
  2. Eileen M. Resnick, PhD,
  3. Viviana R. Simon, PhD,
  4. Sara O. Iskikian, MS,
  5. Sherry A. Marts, PhD
  1. From the Society for Women's Health Research, Washington, DC.
  1. Grant Support: Guidant Foundation, 111 Monument Circle, Suite 3570, Indianapolis, IN 46244-0906.
  2. Reprints: Sherry A. Marts, PhD, Vice President, Scientific Affairs, Society for Women's Health Research, 1025 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 701, Washington, DC 20036. E-mail: sherry{at}

A Report by the Society for Women's Health Research


In October 2006, the Society for Women's Health Research convened a workshop that focused on the behavioral and social influences on obesity in women across the life span with an emphasis on ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and mental health. The purposes of the workshop were to examine the current state of the science related to behavioral influences on obesity in women across the life span; to determine the mechanisms, methods, and technical advances required for research progress in this area; and to develop an agenda for future research on behavioral influences on obesity in women. The workshop participants included psychologists, social scientists, clinicians, health educators, health services researchers, nutrition specialists, and epidemiologists, among others, who have expertise in obesity at critical life stages in women (childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, menopause, and older age). Discussions during the workshop focused on 4 specific topics: (1) the relationship between mental or emotional health and obesity in women; (2) the impact of social, cultural, and environmental factors on obesity in women; (3) the improvement of obesity research methodology; and (4) the development of obesity prevention and intervention strategies. Based on these discussions, participants proposed recommendations for future research.

Key Words
  • sex differences
  • obesity
  • behavior

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