An unhappy marriage can lead to obesity, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from Ohio State University found that people with a history of depression can end up gaining a significant amount of weight if they experience marital trouble.
The study examined 43 married couples, who had all been married for at least three years, and gave them a series of questionnaires about how happy they were in their marriage and if they had any previous mental health issues such as depression.
Following the questionnaires, the participants were given a meal with a similar calorie count as a meal from a fast food restaurant. Then they were invited to discuss any issues they had in their relationships.
The researchers found that those with a combination of marital difficulty and prior mental health issues burned far fewer calories than those with a less hostile relationship.
Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University who was lead author of the study, said that the results could be an underestimation “because the effects of only one meal were analysed”.
She added that people “often dine with their spouses” and, as such, those meals could “provide prime opportunities for ongoing disagreements in a troubled marriage”.
These findings seem to contradict a study last year, which suggested that people in unhappy marriages were less likely to gain weight.