While many may think that women are more prone to obesity after getting married, it may in fact be more likely for married men instead. A study, published in the journal Family, Systems & Health, showed that married men were 25 percent more likely to become overweight or obese than their single counterparts.
Of the 2,300 young adults who participated the study, 23 percent was married, 42 percent was in a committed relationship and 35 percent was single or in the dating scene. The author of the study says, “The findings clearly indicate that married men are more likely to suffer from overweight or obesity compared to those who are single, casually dating or in a committed relationship. It suggests that being married could be a potential risk factor for the health of young, married men. On the other hand, we found that married women were more likely to eat breakfast more than five times per week, suggesting that for women, marriage may actually be a protective factor for health-related behavior.”
Dimitris Kiortsis, president of the Hellenic Medical Association for Obesity, says, “In general, single people spend more time on their appearance to look attractive, but once they get married, they tend to let themselves go. The hunt for a partner is gone.”
Previous studies have also studied the effects of marriage on the risk of overweight and obesity, but never before did findings show that it may be more likely for married men than for married women; however, a study from 2013 suggest that couples, who are happily married, gained more weight than those who are in an unhappy marriage.
Although the study shows that married life for men could be a potential health risk, Kiortsis points out that marriage may also reduce stress and anxiety and that married people recover more quickly after a heart procedure than those without a partner. Christine Proulx, assistant professor at the University of Missouri Department of Human Development and Family Studies, says, “Being married is not going to cure any disease, but building a strong relationship with your spouse could improve the well-being and spirit, which helps to recover. It is not just a pill that can help cure a disease.”
More health benefits of marriage have been revealed in recent studies. Researchers, who studied more than 3.5 million Americans, found that married people are less likely to have problems with their heart and blood vessels. Dr. Jeffrey Burger, preventive cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, says, “It could easily have to do with the fact that a spouse encourages them to take better care of themselves.” Divorced or widowed people showed an increase of five percent in risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Married men may be more likely to suffer from overweight or obesity, but according to researchers, it may be a sign of a happy and stable marriage. Researchers also found that there was no other difference in health-related behavior, such as exercising and healthy eating. Their next mission is to study how the quality of a marriage affects the health-related behavior.
By Diana Herst