Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness, refers to a reduction of the total body mass, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose tissue or lean mass, namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon, and other connective tissue. Weight loss can either occur unintentionally due to malnourishment or an underlying disease or arise from a conscious effort to improve an actual or perceived overweight or obese state. "Unexplained" weight loss that is not caused by reduction in calorific intake or exercise is called cachexia and may be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Intentional weight loss is commonly referred to as slimming.

Women have, throughout history, made contributions to science, literature and art. One area where women have been permitted most access historically was that of obstetrics and gynecology (prior to the 18th century, caring for pregnant women in Europe was undertaken by women; from the mid 18th century onwards medical monitoring of pregnant women started to require rigorous formal education, to which women did not generally have access, therefore the practice was largely transferred to men).[95][96]

weight loss