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Men and women in Tunisia are not equal before the scales. Tunisian women are three times as likely to suffer from obesity as their male compatriots. This great inequality was revealed in a study by IRD and its partners ( 1), and differs from what nutritionists have observed in the North, where more men tend to be overweight. The disparity is even greater in cities: a sedentary lifestyle, temptations offered by mass-market retail… Their role in society makes women particularly vulnerable to risk factors in an urban environment. Body mass index (BMI) is also increasing among those with a lower education level and without employment, further broadening the difference from their masculine counterparts.
A BMI above 25 increases health risks: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure… The latter already affects nearly a third of all Tunisians above the age of 35, of which almost a million are obese today. Prevention is better than cure: healthcare authorities must aim their actions at the population segment that is most at risk, namely women.