Marriage and fatherhood lead to weight gain

Marriage|June 26th 2017

Men who are married or have children are more likely to be overweight than their single peers.

This has been a common belief for a long time but recently a recently published study by researchers at the University of Bath appears to give credence to it. They examined data from 8,729 heterosexual couples who were asked to supply such information as their marital status, body mass index (BMI) and if they had had children. Information was gathered every two years between 1999 and 2013.

On average, married men had higher BMIs than those who were unmarried. They also weighed around 1.4 kilograms, or three pounds, more. Additionally, men were more likely to gain weight after they had become fathers.

The researchers also identified BMI dips for men just before and shortly after they divorced.

Study co-author Dr Joanna Syrda said that if people wanted to make informed choices about their health it was “useful … to understand which social factors may influence weight gain, especially common ones such as marriage and parenthood”.

Married men who want to avoid weight gain will have to be “mindful of their own changing motivation, behaviour, and eating habits” she added.

Earlier this year, academics at the University of Arizona found that married women were also more likely to gain weight than single women. This claim was based on an analysis of data collected from over 79,000 women between 50 and 79 years old.

The University of Bath research was published in the academic journal Social Science & Medicine.

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