You know your friend who says she’s happy being single? Well perhaps she had it right for once after research has found that by marrying a man – or even living with one – you are significantly increasing your risk of being overweight. Now that’s a pretty startling finding for anyone who is just moving in with their partner or for those of us who are always in a relationship!
Of course we are all familiar with the idea that being in a marriage is said to improve your overall health and potentially lower mortality. But is seems like times are changing as two recent studies found that having a male partner is associated with being overweight for women.
But don’t just take our word for it; findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health followed the relationships of around 7,000 young adults and came up with this conclusion. The study asked participants to self-report whether they were single, dating, cohabiting or married and found that regardless of relationship status, both men and women were in danger of being overweight but women were at higher risk overall.
Cohabiting was found to increase the chances of women becoming obese by 63 percent! Whilst there was half the chance for this to happen with men (30%). Furthermore, marriage doubled the risk of obesity for both men and women – 107 percent for men and 127 percent for women. These are pretty daunting figures for anyone who has tied the knot recently, so if you have any friends who are recently wed then you might want to do them a favour and let them know what they could be in for if they don’t look after themselves.
The second study, completed by the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, took a closer look at weight gain in women and did so over a 10-year period. They found that although the average single woman would gain around 11 pounds, women with a partner gained around 15 pounds and those with both a partner and baby gained about 20 pounds. Of course having a baby is always going to be an influencing factor on weight gain but the influence of living with a partner is also noticeable.
There are of course flaws to a lot of studies and it could be argued that because these were observational studies and not more sophisticated and randomized trials, that their findings might not be as valid but they do work to show a trend towards weight gain in relationships. A lot of factors can be influential in these studies and many lifestyle changes occur when young people date and marry that can have an impact on our weight. It is easy to slip into a routine where you exercise less, eat larger meals because your partner has made them for you and of course a decline in desire to maintain a healthy weight for the purpose of attracting a partner.
What is important to realise is that these aren’t necessary results! Being with a partner doesn’t have to mean you are going to become overweight, just that you should take extra care of each other and still stay fit and healthy.