COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Men tend to have a large weight gain after a divorce, but for women, the risk of a large weight gain was most likely after marriage, U.S. researchers found.
"Clearly, the effect of marital transitions on weight changes differs by gender," lead author Dmitry Tumin, a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University, said in a statement.
"Divorces for men and, to some extent, marriages for women promote weight gains that may be large enough to pose a health risk."
The marital transitional weight gain was most likely in those age 30 and older, Tumin said.
"For someone in their mid-20s, there is not much of a difference in the probability of gaining weight between someone who just got married and someone who never married," Tumin said. "But later in life, there is much more of a difference.
Tumin and Zhenchao Qian, professor of sociology at Ohio State University, used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, a nationally representative sample of men and women ages 14-22 in 1979. The same sample of 10,071 people were surveyed each year up to 1994 and every other year since then.
"For most people, the weight gain we see after a marital transition is relatively small, not something we would see as a serious health threat," Tumin said.
The findings were presented in Las Vegas at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.