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Unplanned baby more likely in obese women

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Obese single women are four times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than women of a healthy weight, despite having sex less often, researchers have said.

They are also 63% less likely to seek advice on contraception, 66% less likely to take the Pill and generally view sex as less important, according to the largest ever study into obesity and sexual health.

Researchers found obese women were five times more likely to have met their partner on the internet and were more likely to have an obese partner than women of a healthy weight.

Furthermore, they were 29% less likely to report having had a sexual partner in the previous 12 months.

However, obesity also has a huge impact on men, with obese men being 69% less likely to report more than one partner in the previous year compared with men of normal weight.

The study found they were almost three times more likely to report erectile dysfunction as men of a normal weight and were more likely to say they had picked up a sexually-transmitted infection.

The research, published online in the British Medical Journal involved more than 12,000 men and women in France.

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But a British expert said the findings had far-reaching implications, and called for greater understanding of how obese people feel about their sex lives and the impact of obesity on health.

In an accompanying BMJ editorial, Dr Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, from the Sexual Problems Clinic at the Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust in north London, said: "In particular, we need to know why obese women use less contraception and have more unwanted pregnancies despite having fewer sexual partners.

"The answers are likely to be complex, with biological, psychological, and social aspects."


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