BATH, England — Take a look at a man’s wedding picture, and take a look at him now. What’s different? Yes, he’s still the happy, love-struck man he was in the picture, but he may be wearing a couple of extra pounds. New research finds that men get fatter after marriage, and becoming a new father-to-be adds to the weight gain as well.

Researchers from the University of Bath say the average married man tends to add 2.5 pounds due to letting themselves go and eating less healthy foods. Social scientists have been known to link marital status with weight change.

Wedding cake
The wedding cake is just the beginning: A new study finds that men tend to put on some extra pounds after getting married.

“Individuals who are on the matching market have higher incentives and exert more effort to stay fit than individuals who are already or still married, resulting in higher BMI among married individuals than those not married,” says lead researcher and Business Economist in the School of Management, Dr. Joanna Syrda, in a university press release.

Syrda conducted the research by analyzing the height and weight data of 8,729 men that was collected from 1999 to 2013. She found that the factors that caused male body mass index (BMI) to fluctuate were marriage, fatherhood and divorce.

One theory Syrda suggested was that married couples may eat more regular meals (thank the home-cooked ones!) and they have more social obligations which can involve heavier foods.

The data that really proves this theory that marriage makes men heavier are numbers that showed men’s BMI decreased when they were back on the market — before and after a divorce.

Although the average married men weigh about three pounds heavier, the rates of obesity are still higher than they ever should be. Being overweight causes a grocery list of health issues including heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes.

“It’s useful for individuals to understand which social factors may influence weight gain, especially common ones such as marriage and parenthood, so that they can make informed decisions about their health and well-being,” says Syrda. “For married men who want to avoid BMI increases that will mean being mindful of their own changing motivation, behaviour and eating habits.”

The full study was published in this month’s edition of the journal Social Science and Medicine.

About Sarah Hockel

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink


Chris Melore


Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor