LIFESTYLE

Getting Married Earlier In Life Makes You More Likely To Become Obese, Researchers Suggest

29/05/2015 12:10 BST | Updated 29/05/2015 12:59 BST

Most young people don't even think about getting married before they head off to university.

But for those who do, a new study suggests that it could have severe implications on the waistline - and not in a good way.

In fact, researchers have suggested that getting married before graduating could make you 65% more likely to become obese.

This, they suggest, is because people tend to exercise less and eat more when married.

marriage before uni obesity

Researchers looked at data from nearly 14,000 individuals from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

They compared the body mass indexes (BMIs) of participants before and after they graduated from university, and also looked at the timing of their marriages.

Participants were classified as obese if their BMIs were equal to or greater than 30.

Lead author of the study, Richard Allen Miech, from the University of Michigan, said: "People who get married before they earn a degree from a four-year college are about 65 percent more likely to later become obese than people who get married after college.

"While a college degree has long been shown to be associated with lower levels of obesity, the results of this study indicate that the health benefits of college do not accrue to people who get married before graduating."

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"People who earn a college degree before getting married are more likely to navigate the changes associated with marriage without shortchanging their health," said Miech.

"On average, the initial transition into married life is associated with weight gain, as individualistic exercise tends to drop off and food consumption increases.

"However, new spouses who graduated from college before getting married typically earn more money than those who did not and can invest in their health by purchasing such things as a gym subscription or healthier, more expensive foods."

He added: "In addition, people who earn a college degree before getting married are more likely to have developed problem-solving skills that allow them to overcome obstacles that may prevent them from exercising and eating healthy as they adjust to married life.

"On the other hand, our research suggests that people who earn a college degree after marrying may have established exercise and diet habits that are more difficult to change later."

The study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour.

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[H/T Daily Mail]