Hips Don’t Lie (About Age), Weight Gain Not Pill’s Fault

NateOne/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nateone/">Flickr</a>

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Well, this is some intriguing news. One recent study finds that your hip bones naturally widen with age, and another says weight gain can’t be blamed on the Pill. So I guess the only culprit left behind my mysteriously shrinking jeans is an overzealous dryer or plain denial, hopefully neither of which will be promptly disproven by yet another study.

The hip-related report, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research (PDF), found that between age 20 and age 80, most of us can expect to gain close to 1″ in our hip bones. Study co-author Laurence Dahners from the University of North Carolina told ABC that that 1″ expansion in hips correlates to a 3″ increase in waist size and a 1 lb/year weight gain. While it’s been long-known that people tend to gain weight as they age, it’s now apparent that expanding hips may play a part. The researchers were surprised by the finding, and aren’t sure exactly what’s causing the hip expansion, or how much it affects weight gain. As Dahners diplomatically put it, “We can’t say you’re not getting fat, because you might be getting fat too.”

Speaking of getting fat, another recent study found that despite many anecdotal accounts, contraceptive pills do not make women gain weight. The long-term study out of Sweden found no weight differences between women who had taken combination oestrogen-progesterone birth control pills and women who had never been on the pill. Personally, I’ve heard of (and experienced) rapid weight gain when going on the combination pill, and some women say they experienced weight gain when going off the pill. Scientists say the pill may cause temporary water retention, and possible expansion of fat cells, which can make women feel fatter, but it shouldn’t affect long-term weight. As a woman of childbearing age, what strikes me about this issue is that one of the main effects of going off hormonal birth control is an increased chance of getting pregnant. Which is a really good way to gain weight. And, you know, a baby.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend