Gender Differences: How Marriage and Divorce Affect Weight Gain


A recent study shows the differences between men and women and how marriage and divorce affects their weight.

Weight gain and weight loss is different for men and women. A recent study by doctoral student, Dmitry Tumin also shows that men and women differ in when they gain weight. Women tend to gain an average of 7-20 pounds once married, while men tend to gain weight after going through a divorce.

The Ohio State University study is based on a 10,000 person study. It tracked weight loss and gain in married couples from 1986-2008. Women were more likely to pack on the pounds a few years into the marriage, while men were more likely to gain weight after a divorce. The reason for the weight gain is likely due to the big life changes.

Marriage, Gender Roles and Weight Gain

Marriage is a big step that includes a lot of change. Marriage leads to more eating and it changes people’s activity levels. Generally,married couples engage in more social events and family gatherings and have less time to devote to exercise, sports and other activities.

Marriage reduces a couple’s need to keep up with their appearances. They feel that they no longer need to look a certain way to attract the opposite sex for dating purposes, etc. They also tend to get comfortable with one another and maybe become eating buddies.

Women may gain weight after marriage because they have a lot more responsibility. Following traditional gender roles, women tend to do more of the shopping, cooking and other household maintenance. Granted, this isn’t the case in all relationships.

Men, however, enjoy a huge health benefit from being married. They tend to be healthier, more satisfied and also reap the benefits from their jobs because they are seen as more stable and loyal. Marriage also reduces men’s stress level, therefore improving their health.

How Divorce Affects Weight for Men and Women

The study also shows that men tend to gain weight after a divorce, which may be due to the added stress and financial burden they experience. Women, however, lose an average of 10% of their body weight after a divorce. This may be due in part that women try to improve their self esteem and are more concerned about their appearance post-divorce. Its a time for new beginnings and creating a fresh start.

Men, on the other hand, tend to gain weight post-divorce. They are less likely to keep up on health-related issues once divorced and don’t worry as much about eating the right foods to maintain or lose weight.


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