Tying the knot can include a slew of benefits — but saying “I do” might have one big downside: Marriage can make you obtain weight, according to a new study from the College of Bath in the U.K.
Using more than a decade’s worth of data from nearly 9,000 US men, the study author Joanna Syrda, Ph.D. revealed that married men had a significantly higher average body mass index (BMI) than men who were not married.
When looking at men who became dads, their most significant weight gain occurred right after the birth of their kids.
Wondering about guys whose marriages have ended? Their BMIs actually got lower following the divorce, potentially due to the effects of stress (not to mention trying to impress potential new mates).
So why does putting a ring on it bump up your pants size? Syrda believes her findings might support past theories about relationships and weight gain. For instance, you might start eating your meals more regularly after you get married. Or, being married could expose you to more social situations that involve richer (AKA more caloric) foods.
Plus, people who are single, but looking for a long-term partner, might have more of a reason to put in the extra effort to stay fit, Syrda suggests.
But letting yourself go can quickly become a problem. Being overweight puts you at greater risk for a number of serious diseases and health conditions, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s why understanding how different parts of your life influence your weight gain is important. It allows you to make better, more informed decisions about your health and eating habits, Syrda explains in a press release.
Just keep in mind that being a husband and father might not be the only thing contributing to the number on the scale.