A University Professor has revealed that middle-aged men who carry a bit of extra weight are more likely to live longer.
As men age testosterone levels decrease, which causes loss of muscle mass and an increase in fat mass.
Richard Bribiescas, professor of anthropology at Yale University, said this makes them better at passing on their genes to offspring and fighting off illnesses.
He added that they may also appear more attractive to women.
“Macho makes you sick,” said Professor Bribiescas, according to The Telegraph. “The Hollywood image of the swaggering, dashing man dispatching bad guys and carrying the day conjures up a perception of indestructibility.
“While men are on average larger and physically stronger than women, men have a considerable weakness. We have a harder time fighting off infections and illness compared with women, and... men simply do not take care of themselves.”
This has “a significant negative impact” on the pace at which men age, he added.
Bribiescas believes weight gain after fatherhood could strengthen the immune system and even prolong life. His theory, called ‘the Pudgy Dad Hypothesis’, suggests that ‘dad bods’ - a term used to describe men who maintain “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out” - might actually be beneficial to health.
In his book, ‘How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality’, Bribiescas explained that one effect of lower testosterone levels is loss of muscle mass and an increase in fat mass.
“This change in body composition not only causes men to shop for more comfortable trousers but also facilitates increased survivorship and, hypothetically, a hormonal milieu that would more effectively promote and support paternal investment,” he wrote.
Speaking to The Huffington Post UK, Dr Helen Webberley from Oxford Online Pharmacy said while a “more cuddly and softer” body may be more appealing to the opposite sex, it’s important for guys to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“As you get older, testosterone levels naturally decline, making men more cuddly and softer, rather than pumped up, aggressive and macho,” she said.
“The former are without doubt more appealing traits in a potential father making them more attractive to the opposite sex.
“It is however important to be aware of this burgeoning bulge which may be exacerbated by poor diet and lack of exercise, neither of which is good for general health.”