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Whole Systems Approach to Obesity: Four PhD Bursaries Starting April 2016. Understanding young men’s risk of overweight and obesity: a psychosocial narrative approach.

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  • Full or part time
    Prof AW White
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

There is still a tendency within society to see being overweight and weight loss as predominately a female issue (Bell & McNaughton, 2007) despite the higher number of men who are overweight (EC, 2011), with a more negative impact through their tendency to have visceral fat (Tchernof & Després, 2013). Men gain weight from birth at a faster rate than women (White, de Souza, et al. 2011), and tend to accumulate fat centrally around the waist (Haslam 2007). This android or visceral obesity is more common in men and elevates risk through increased incidence of CHD, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia, metabolic syndrome and CVD (Cameron et al. 2009; HSCIC 2014). As a result a 40 year old obese man can expect to live 5.8 years less than his normal weight peers (Logue et al. 2010).

The biggest increase in male overweight occurs at the transition into adulthood, between 16-24 years and 25-49 years (12.4% to 35% of males overweight, compared to 15.4% to 26.2% females overweight in Leeds [Seims & White, 2015]). This time period coincides with many important life changes, but is also a product of a lifetime of socialization and habit accumulation within an obesogenic environment. This study seeks to examine the interrelation between biographical and social/environmental factors that impact on the risk of this increase in weight, paying special attention to masculinity issues since these are known to influence and constrain men’s health practices (Gough & Robertson, 2009). It will directly inform a whole systems approach, which is predicated on listening to Local Authorities and others in specific settings to understand their perspectives on what causes obesity and possible solutions. This study will take that enquiry to the individuals who are experiencing the issue first hand – those younger men who are overweight or obese. This will enable a detailed picture to be created of the risk factors the men have to overcome.

Men are largely absent or not disaggregated within obesity and weight management research. Over the last 15 years the percentage of male specific weight management trials has increased from 4% to 5%, while female only studies grew at seven times the rate in the same period, suggesting a widening gender disparity in research (Pagoto et al. 2012; Robertson 2014). There is still a lack of psychosocial research on men’s overweight. Through a life-story narrative approach this study will enable a sample of men from within a Local Authority to share their own ‘whole system’ account of what they personally consider to be the causes of their overweight and what they see as acceptable solutions.

Please click here for further information - http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/research-studentships-and-fees-only-bursaries/

Please contact Professor Alan White for further details
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44(0)113 81 24358

Funding Notes

These studentships include tuition fees for 3 years and a bursary of £14,047 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK/EU Fees paid for a period of three years.

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