Weight Shocks Singles

Men and women gain weight after marital transition

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Marriage and divorce are big changes that affect men and women differently. Learning to unite or separate affects many lifestyle changes. Some may even add on a few pounds.

Researchers found that men tend to go through a "weight shock" after divorce which leads them to add a few extra pounds while women go through it after marriage.

"Avoid weight gain after marriage or divorce by staying active."

Lead author, Dmitry Tumin, doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University, found that women and men over the age of 30 that go through marriage or divorce are more likely to have large weight increases. These increases could be enough to pose a health risk, Tumin says.

There was no difference in weight gain seen between people in their mid 20’s who had recently gotten married or never been married. However, as they aged, there was a larger difference, Tumin says.

Tumin and colleagues used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth ’79, which included a 10,071 men and women between the ages of 14 and 22 in 1979. The same people were surveyed every year until 1994 and then surveyed every other year since then.

The researchers used the data to determine weight gain in the two years that followed marriage or divorce. The data included body mass index (BMI), which is a common weight measure.

Tumin and team also took into account other factors that could affect weight fluctuations like pregnancy, poverty, socioeconomic status and education.

Overall, men and women who were married or divorced were more likely to gain weight compared to those who were never married – especially for those who were between the ages of 30 and 50.

The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 22, 2011
Last Updated:
August 23, 2011