Monday, May 15, 2017

Women gain weight after marriage, not after divorce: study


I read an article at Psychology Today about married and divorce people's health...

Decades of research have confirmed what many of us thought all along: Married people are healthier, happier, and live longer than people who are divorced.

It’s easy to see the health benefits of marriage. Couples provide each other with companionship and social support. They take care of each other when they’re feeling down, and they stand by each other through difficult times. Our partners also encourage us to develop good habits, and give us motivation to improve.

I was laughing when I read it. I am divorced for 4 years now and my experience is quite different. These decades of research produced a simple lie.  I have noticed that married women tend to gain more weight than single one. While the reason for the women's extra weight gain is not entirely clear, one theory on marriage-related weight gain of women at age of 40 and up, is that it may come from sitting down together with the spouse for regular, large meals.

I searched on the net this interesting subject and I found the numerous studies done by University of Arizona for U.S. Women's Health Initiative. It was a prevention study initiated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in 1991 to address women's health issues.

They compared both groups of women - those who remained single and those who married. Women who stayed married gained about two pounds per year and have an increase in their waistline, while women who divorced lost a modest amount of weight. The married women decline in physical activity, while divorced women's physical activity increased.

The researchers paid special attention to emotional well-being of two groups and found that married people can be just as lonely, if not more lonely, than single people. Married people are more isolated from their friends, neighbors and extended family.

The one area in which divorced women lagged was smoking. Women who went from married to divorced were the most likely group to start smoking. However, it's important to note that those who picked up the habit were typically former smokers, not first-time tobacco users, Dr. Randa Kutob, from University of Arizona, said.

This study's results do challenge existing research on the long-term health benefits of marriage. "With divorce, some women take that moment to focus more on their own health, as it would appear from our results. As a health provider, I should be encouraging them in those efforts so that those efforts aren't short-term but become lifelong," Kutob said. "Even a pretty devastating life event like a divorce can have some positive outcomes, and if we can encourage the positive it will probably help those people cope as well."

In conclusion, the divorce can be plenty stressful for women in 40ties but it doesn't translate into the weight gain that often accompanies married women. Getting divorced or separated after 40 is actually associated with weight loss and an increase in physical activity.

What about men? Married and divorced? Well, studies show that married men get a health benefit from marriage, and they lose that benefit once they get divorced, which may lead to their weight gain. Oooops.

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About Zee Mark

I am an Ashtanga yoga practitioner from Toronto, Canada. I am writing a blog about awakening, yoga and everyday life. My entire life journey has led me to this very moment in time. I finally arrived to a place where I am okay with the truth that there is no truth.