New fathers pack on the pounds, research reveals

Family|July 21st 2015

Men typically gain several pounds in weight after becoming fathers, a newly published study suggests.

A group of researchers examined existing data relating to the health of over 10,000 across over a 20 year period, beginning in early adolescence. The researchers focused on their body mass index. As the period progressed, around 3,400 of the men became fathers and these were classified as either resident or non-resident by the researchers.

Resident fathers – i.e. those who lived with their child – typically gained four and a half pounds following the birth, while non-resident fathers gained an average of three and a half pounds in weight.

In both cases, the fathers outpaced the non-fathers, who typically gained just one and a half pounds over the same time period. The researchers adjusted the data to allow for the effect of other influences such as marriage.

The lead researcher was Dr Craig Garfield of Northwestern University in Illinois. He said:

“For men who become fathers, their whole life changes.”

He added:

“We all know dads who clean their kids’ plates after every meal. You have new responsibilities when you have your kids, and may not have time to take care of yourself the way you once did in terms of exercise. Your family becomes priority.”

The study was entitled Longitudinal Study of Body Mass Index in Young Males and the Transition to Fatherhood.

The research was published in the American Journal of Men’s Health.

Image by Louis Vest via Flickr

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