Does Marriage Make You Fat?

Love, Self

It seems so. But only if you're a woman.

Just in case you needed another reason not to get married, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) have come up with a big one: marriage makes you fat. And not just a little bit. According to their research, married people are twice as likely to become obese as those who are merely dating.

We know what you're thinking: In that case, why not just shack up and not get married?

Oh, if only it were that easy.

After following the weight and relationship status of 6,949 individuals for several years, the UNC nutrition epidemiologists found that even unmarried cohabiting lovebirds pack on the pounds. Living Apart: The Key To Wedded Bliss?

Unfair, isn't it? But wait. It gets even more unfair. The study found that unmarried women living in sin for up to five years face a 63% increased chance of obesity while their male counterparts face no increased risk at all.

And it just gets worse over time. As Penny Gordon-Larsen, one of the two authors of the study, told Time magazine: "With women, we saw incremental risk after one year. The longer she lived with a romantic partner, the more likely she was to put on weight."  50% Of Women Regret Marrying Their Husbands

The big question, of course, is: Where does all this weight come from? After questioning 1,293 couples for a separate part of the study, Gordon-Larsen and the study's lead author, Natalie The, have some ideas. Among them: That mealtime (and thus, eating) might become more important for couples living together than for people living alone; that working out might become less of a priority after tying the knot; and that, well, maybe after all the prepping to fit into a size six on the wedding day, people just let themselves go. Living Alone And Loving It

On top of that, scientists have known for a while that obesity is socially contagious. In other words, if you spend time with people who carry a few extra pounds — whether they're your husband or your friends — it becomes easier/more acceptable for you to do the same. Weight Loss Lessens ED Risk

But there's a flip side to this last part that bodes well for cohabitating couples. It also seems that fitness is contagious. In a University of Connecticut study she conducted last year, Amy Gorin found that when one half of a married couple participates in a weight-loss program, the other half loses an average of five pounds.

Personally, we can't think of a better reason to have our husbands go to the gym.