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Marriage And Divorce Both Put On The Pounds, Study Finds

Potentially bad for your weight: Marriage and Divorce

By Karen Weintraub
Guest Blogger

You’ve heard of the “Freshman 15,” well now consider the “Divorce 21.”

In a new study out of Ohio State University, sociologists found that people who marry are more likely to gain weight than those who never marry and people who divorce are more likely to gain weight than their stably married peers.

Big changes in home life, like a marriage or a divorce, tend to change eating patterns. Marry someone with a passion for ice cream, and you’re likely to eat more of it; divorce that person and perhaps the memory will deter you from the neighborhood parlor.

Previous research has shown that people who have never married tend to diet and exercise more while they are dating, and to slacken off once they marry, perhaps because they are busier or less worried about their appearance. Those who are married eat at more regular intervals, studies show, and may eat more to acknowledge the effort a spouse has invested in the meal. And a wedding can also encourage people to quit smoking, which usually triggers weight gain.

The new study from Ohio is the first to look at how multiple factors – race, gender and age – influence weight gain or loss at the time of marital events, said Dmitry Tumin, a PhD student at Ohio State and the study’s first author. He and professor Zhenchao Qian examined a national database of more than 10,000 people interviewed every other year since 1986, when respondents were in their 20s. Continue reading