Happy newlyweds more likely to gain weight

Happy, young newlyweds are more likely to put on weight in the early years after they exchange vows, a new US study finds.

Researchers from Southern Methodist University tracked 169 first-time newlywed couples, keeping tabs on their marital satisfaction and weight over the course of four years. Newlyweds checked in with the researchers twice a year, answering questions on their satisfaction with their marriage and taking measurements on their weight, height, and body-mass index.

“On average, spouses who were more satisfied with their marriage were less likely to consider leaving their marriage, and they gained more weight over time,” said psychologist and lead researcher Andrea L. Meltzer in an April 3 press release. “In contrast, couples who were less satisfied in their relationship tended to gain less weight over time.”

The study also suggests that “spouses in satisfying relationships relax their efforts to maintain their weight because they are no longer motivated to attract a mate”. In contrast, when spouses feel unhappy with their marriage, they are “least likely to gain weight” as they “feel an increased need to attract a mate”.

To prevent weight gain, researchers advise couples to encourage each other to “think about their weight in terms of health rather than appearance.”

Access the full study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23477578