Most men and women put on weight differently. But on what makes fat settle in a preferential way, there is little evidence.
Scientists ascertained that specific body shapes are: android shape, or apple shape, common among men (fat deposits on middle section of body, mostly on abdomen) and gynoid, or pear shape, more common among women (fat deposited on hips and bottom). There is also third type of body shape: ovoid shape, not differentiating between men and women. With this type we can speak of an over-all general coverage of bodyfat.
Thinking of many cases of exceptions, I try to find out in what follows if there is a strict specific fat pattern distribution for men and women and what are factors influencing fat distribution. And I find this interesting not in as much as aesthetic side is concerned but from health perspective.
Being overweight or underweight are characteristics depending on many factors: you are genetically overweight if you have a family history of overweight parents/relatives. Also, nervous system plays an important role in balancing body weight: serotonin and endorphins send signals to brain that induce need to eat or on contrary. There is also CCK hormone which transmits brain signals on state of satiety - it decreases hunger.
While generally, body weight is influenced genetically, hormonally and by body maintenance condition (the activity routine), it seems that fat distribution is influenced by age, genetic inheritance, race, but to a greater extent by gender specific hormones. They are responsible for distribution of fat in certain zones of our bodies: thus, estrogens which are responsible of typical female sexual characteristics will influence fat deposition in pear format, favouring its laying on hips, thighs, and belly, while testosterone will "lead" fat mostly towards tummy and upper body.
Latest studies show that men's tendency towards gynoid format has increased in past 30 years (one study shows a growth of 2 inches in men's hips in past 30 years). According to researches as John R. Lee, M.D (specialist in natural progesterone therapy), Dr. Jesse Hanley and Dr. Peter Eckhart, it seems that modern life exposes people to increased amounts of estrogen and estrogen-like substances (xenoestrogens or foreign estrogens). Sources of these substances can be plastics, plastic drinking bottles, commercially raised beef, chicken and pork, personal care products, pesticides, herbicides, birth control pills, spermacide, detergent, canned foods and lacquers. The problem is that increased estrogen levels in men not only make their hips fatten but are main risk factor for disease such as prostate enlargement and cancer.
Also, for women, android pattern fat distribution should raise questions with regard to hormonal imbalances, such situations being a potential cause for health problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome.