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You found the perfect dress or the just-right tux. You had the big wedding and the fun reception. You spent time together on your honeymoon in total wedded bliss. And now you’re back at home enjoying the married life. You found your life partner and now you can just enjoy being married. The hard part (read: wedding planning) is over, right?
Well, maybe not. Sure, you may no longer be planning a wedding or preparing for the day when the eyeballs of everyone you know are fixed on you, but when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, marriage seems to put people through the weight-gain ringer.
According to research from the Journal of Economics and Human Biology, the body mass index of married men increased 1.5 percent above what they would normally gain as they aged, and married women's BMI went up 2 percent compared to single men and women. Another study in Obesity, found that married couples were three times more likely to be classified as obese than singles are.
Young adults may be particularly susceptible to newlywed weight gain. Findings from a 2007 annual meeting of the Obesity Society showed that newly married women (younger than 28 years old) gained 24 pounds in five years and newly married men gained 30 pounds. Compare that to an average of 15 pounds over five years for young women and 24 pounds over five years for young men who are in relationships but don’t live together.
But what's with all this marriage weight gain? There are a number of possibilities as to why people gain weight after getting hitched, but researchers (and common sense) seem to think it has to do mainly with comfort and picking up your partner's habits, for better or for worse.
Single people have been shown to be more active and spend less time watching TV than married folks, and single people may feel more pressure to look a certain way and be thinner when they’re dating, researchers postulate. Many newlyweds, especially women, start eating like their partners, too. So instead of having a salad for dinner, they may grab pizza. Or instead of having one beer, they may have two or three, if that's the habit of their spouse. Continued ›