Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Marriage and weight gain

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Nov• 17•08

Do people gain weight after marriage?  A paper by Jeffrey and Rick (2002) says yes.  Using data collected from 2528 workers over a 2 year period, the authors estimated the effect of marriage and divorce on weight gain.  They found the following:

Getting married increases BMI by 0.70 for men and 0.96 for women.  For the average American male and female, this translates into a 4.8 pound increase for men and a 5.6 pound increase for women.  

Getting divorced actually decreases BMI.  The coefficients estimated were -0.27 for men and -0.63 for women; this translates into weight losses of 1.8 pounds for men and 3.7 pounds for women.  

The authors also found that “spouses tend to become more similar in body weight over time, indicating that environmental influences are an important cause of spouse weight similarity.”

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