A new study of over 10,000 people conducted by the American Sociological Association has had some startling results. In the two years after a marriage starts or ends, there is an increased risk of weight gain.
Newly married women were shown to be most at risk of “large” weight gains, showing some truth in the traditional belief that newly wedded bliss can lead to other forms of contentment.
The study followed people from 1986 to 2008 and monitored changes in their body mass index (BMI) and marital status.
The researchers then compared the BMI of people who married or divorced with those who were already married or stayed single.
In women, marriage increased the risk of a small increase in weight (up to a three points in BMI) by 33%. There was a 48% higher risk of large weight gains (more than a three point BMI increase). Newly-divorced women had a 22% increased risk of small weight gain.
Men were 28% more likely to have small increases in weight after marriage and 21% after divorce.
A representative of the British Nutrition Foundation charity, Helen Riley, said:
“These are significant changes in someone’s life. It can change their living situation and the types of food they eat. But different people deal with it in different ways and it can be positive for some people.”
Lead author in the study, Dmitry Tumin, said: “To some extent, marriages for women promote weight gains that may be large enough to pose a health risk.”
The report concluded: “All marital transitions act as a weight shock, encouraging small weight gains regardless of the destination marital state.”