A recent study found that women have a tendency to gain a few pounds after tying the knot, while men are likely to do the same after divorce.
The study from Ohio State University focused on weight changes within a two-year span after a marriage or divorce and surveyed 10,000 people between 1986 and 2008. The research also found that people over 30 were more likely to gain weight around these major life events, possibly because they’ve already settled into certain patterns of diet and exercise.
“Clearly, the effect of marital transitions on weight changes differs by gender,” said Dmitry Tumin, lead author of the study and a doctoral student of sociology. “Divorces for men and, to some extent, marriages for women promote weight gains that may be large enough to pose a health risk.”
The study didn’t determine exactly why men and women gain weight after these milestones, but researchers offered some suggestions:
- Married women often take on a larger role in household duties than men, resulting in less time for exercise. Meanwhile, married men get a health boost during marriage but lose it once they get divorced (possible because of depression?), which leads to weight gain.
- For both genders, “weight gain after a marriage begins or ends can be related to the sudden ‘shock’ it causes to one’s lifestyle.”
Interesting. It looks like women “let themselves go” after they’ve already landed a guy, while for men, it’s losing a partner that leads them to adopt a less-healthy lifestyle. Not particularly surprising, but it would be neat to find out the exact psychological underpinnings of these types of weight gain.