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The influence of divorce on weight gain

Marriage and divorce are often life-defining events that impact people in ways they may never expect. One such way in which these life milestones affect people is through their waistline. According to a recent study conducted by Ohio State University, men tend to gain more weight after divorce and women tend to gain more weight after marriage.

Generally, marriage and divorce both lead to weight gain among couples but the two events affect men and women in different ways. Previous studies averaged the weight gains and losses of couples, and the two researchers who conducted the most recent study wanted to better understand how marriage and divorce affected men and women by breaking down weight loss according to gender.

The researchers reviewed survey information based on a nationally representative group of over 10,000 men and women who were asked about their marital situations and weight changes over almost three decades.

The researchers found interesting differences between men and women after the two-year mark of a marriage or divorce. Men and women who married both tended to gain weight in comparison to peers who remained single, but women were more likely to gain more weight than men. After divorce, partners who had separated tended to be heavier in comparison to those who remained married, and men who divorced posted larger weight gains than women.

The authors of the study believe marriage helps men maintain their weight or lose weight because their wives encourage them to follow a healthier lifestyle. After divorce men return to their old ways. The authors believe women tend to eat more and exercise less during marriage because of the stresses of childbearing.

Source: Time, "Men vs. Women: Who gains more weight after marriage and divorce?" Alice Park, Aug. 22, 2011

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