The Grapevine

Women Really Do Gain Weight With Marriage And Lose It During Divorce, Science Shows

Your relationship status and your weight may be more closely tied than you’d like to think. A new study found an interesting correlation between marriage and a woman’s dress size: It’s neither happiness nor sadness that accounts for the women’s different body types, but rather how eating and exercise habits differ when you are alone versus with a partner.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona, found that among women between the ages of 50 and 79, those who had been recently married were most likely to be obese while those who had been recently divorced were most likely to be thin. According to the researchers, these weight fluctuations could be due to a number of factors. For example, getting married could cause women to be less physically active than they were when they were single. In addition, happy couples are more likely to sit down and eat a large meal with each other, The Daily Mail reported. On the other hand, women going through a divorce are more likely to subconsciously improve their diets and increase their physical activity as they prepare to reenter the dating scene — an unexpected side effect of this big life change.

Read: Better Stroke Recovery And 3 Other Health Conditions Being Married Can Alleviate

The study was based on the analysis of 79,094 women. Over the course of three years, researchers tracked the women’s changes in relationship status, as well as changes in weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure.

marriage Getting married is likely to lead to weight gain, while divorce does the opposite. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

“It does seem that these women are consciously engaging in healthier behaviors after divorce,” study author Dr Randa Kutob said, The Daily Mail reported. “With divorce, some women take that moment to focus more on their own health, as it would appear from our results.”

While the study suggests that divorced women’s weight loss is not a direct effect of stress, it is widely accepted that stressful situations can result in weight loss. For example, a study published last year found that stress increased cortisol levels and resulted in more calories burned. This is because stress prompts brown fat activity, which increases body heat and burns extra calories.

The results may put marriage in a bad light, but don’t go filing for divorce just yet. There are actually many health benefits to having a happy marriage. One study found that married couples had a better survival rate than singletons. In addition, married couples also have shorter recovery time after heart surgery.

Source: Kutob RM, Yuan NP, Wertheim BC, et al. Relationship Between Marital Transitions, Health Behaviors, and Health Indicators of Postmenopausal Women: Results from the Women’s Health Initiative. Journal of Women’s Health . 2017

See Also:

Married Couples Have Better Recovery Time After Heart Surgery

Married Vs Single: What Science Says Is Better For Your Health

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