Several studies performed in the past decade have shown that couples that stay together gain weight together. While they have been conducted on a small number of people (low to middle four digits, with one of them including just 169 couples) they have a common trend repeating – marital bliss equals higher chances of weight gain for both partners.
Married couples gaining weight
Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D. who have conducted a study on The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years have found that if a spouse became obese, their significant other has a 37% chances of gaining a lot of weight as well. This number is better than grown siblings who’s chances go up by 3%, and among st friends, this number jumps to a whopping 57%, with friends of the same gender having a larger influence on each other.
They found that it is very much true that we tend to pick up each other’s habits in general due to us spending so much time with each other. It is also noted that the general attitude towards weight gain and obesity is changing and that it has a great influence as well.
Newly wedded couples
Another study done by the National Institute of Health suggests that partners in happy relationships tend to get comfortable with each other and lose interest in maintaining their weight since they have found their mate and have no need to go on a hunt for another one. They have also found that couples that are in unhappy and stressful relationships also experience weight gain, however, the numbers are approximately half the ones of their happier counterparts.
The study concludes with the suggestion that both parties encourage each other to maintain a healthy BMI, not for the sake of physical appearance but so they can have a long and healthy life together.
Research done by the University of North Carolina for North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO) has also found signs of weight gain in stable and happy relationships, however, they have also noticed a significant decrease in consumption of alcohol and smoking, concluding that the willingness to make better choices for one’s health is still there despite lack of weight maintenance.
Weight gain is contagious
Their study included people who went from single to dating, entered marriage or cohabitation, as well as people who became single during the research being performed. They have found that women who have lived with their partner for about 5 years (married or unmarried) have gained on average about 23 pounds, while the ones that have lived separately have gained only 13 pounds on average. On the other hand, men have shown a weight gain of 25 pounds after living with their partner for only two years. It is also remarked that couples who do gain larger amounts of weight also tend to pass on a higher risk of obesity to their children.
It must be noted that this study was not without its limitations – it was performed solely on younger heterosexual couples just starting cohabitation, and did not include other factors like children, changes in dietary needs, social obligations, etc.
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