Marriage and Divorce Trigger Weight Gain

August 23, 2011

Marriage and Divorce Trigger Weight Gain


Beginning or ending a marriage can take a toll on your waistline, according to a new study by Dmitry Tumin, lead author and doctoral student and Zhenchao Qian, professor and chair, Department of Sociology.

Women are more likely to gain weight after their wedding day, while men pile on the pounds after divorce, with both marital transitions acting as "weight shocks."

But when it comes to large weight gains, the effects of marital transitions are quite different for men than they are for women. For men, the risk of a large weight gain increased most prominently after a divorce. But for women, the risk of a large weight gain was most likely after marriage.

Tumin and Qian examined weight loss and gain in men and women in the two years following a marital transition, getting married or getting divorced. They found that there was a difference for the sexes: Men were at higher risk for gaining weight after divorce, while women were at higher risk of packing on the pounds following marriage.

Most people do not put on enough weight after marriage or divorce for it to have a significant impact on their health, Tumin said. But for a small percentage of the population, the weight they gain may pose health risks, he added.

Tumin and Qian presented their research August 22 at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Read the Office of Research press release, written by Jeff Grabmeier,