Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Study links weight gain to marriage, divorce; nods to chore inequality as possible health risk

A study released Monday by Ohio State University doctoral student Dmitry Tumin offers that men would live on beer and pizza alone if let without women in their lives.

Actually, the study, presented at the American Sociological Association conference in Las Vegas, shows differences in weight gain between men and women after marriage and divorce.

If you want to keep her thin, gentlemen,
you may want to pitch in with that scrub brush.
Tumin and his team assessed survey data collected over the course of 22 years and found that in the two years post-nuptuals, women are more likely to gain weight than men. However, men are more likely to gain weight in the two years following a divorce.

Single folks, however, showed much less weight gain in the target two-year period. (Read more about the study in USA Today online.)

The study offers no evidence for why these periods are more likely to induce weight gain, however, co-author Zhenchao Qian theorized that womens' "larger role around the house" than men may be a contributing factor. Women "may have less time to exercise and stay fit than similar unmarried women," Qian said.

In an era when housework is no longer considered solely women's work, clearly even Qian recognizes that the division of household chores and family responsibilities is not often equally split between genders. Without specifically designating responsibility for certain duties around the house, women often find themselves doing it all while their male partners find extra time to devote to learning all the details about the debt crisis or soaking in the stats to help their fantasy sports teams. Maybe the next study that should be done is how unequal chore distribution and time commitment to household and family maintenance negatively impacts the ability of women to stay abreast of current issues and complex world affairs.

If Qian is correct, that more household duties for women equals less time to stay fit directly post-wedding, it is yet another argument for an equal share in the daily duties around the home and with the family.

If men want their wives or fiancees to remain in good health, it may be extremely beneficial to offer to split the chores, and women, too, should consider this when deciding how to approach topics about household chore equity with their male partners.

It's either that or remain single.

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