Greek researchers found that
married couples were more likely to become fat due to their significantly
changed lifestyle as they “let themselves go”.
Married men are three times as
likely to suffer obesity while married women are twice as likely to have weight
problems, it found.
The research, based on the study of
more than 17,000 couples aged between 20 and 70, found that married couples exercised
less frequently, had less sex, had poor nutrition and were “comfortable” in
Married couples spend more time
eating together, sit in front of the TV more and often order takeaway ready
meals while exercising less.
Scientists from Salonica and Ioannina
Universities, who presented their research on Friday to the Panhellenic Medical
Conference, in Athens, concluded that “abdominal obesity, or belly fat” was the
worst problem among married people.
Professor Dimitris Kiortsis, one of
the study’s co-authors, said that obesity was found to be directly related to a
change in lifestyle.
Professor Kiortsis, from Ioannina
University who is also president of the Hellenic Medical Association for
Obesity, said most married couples also have less sex, which is considered
intense exercise that burns calories.
He said that unmarried individuals
originally spend a lot of time keeping fit and making themselves attractive in
order to find a partner “but once they get married they let themselves
“The need to hunt for a
partner is reduced,” he said.
“Stress and anxiety is reduced
in a good marriage, there is less smoking, and therefore one’s appetite
The study advised married couples
to take up more exercise, to have only one home-cooked meal a day, to avoid
snacks, and to follow a Mediterranean diet which includes a lot of fruit,
vegetables and olive oil.
Professor Dimitris Papazoglou, the
other co-author from Salonica University, added: “If one of the partners
decides to go on a diet, then the other partner also often follows.”
“Obesity is the biggest threat
to public health in the entire world”, he said.
Adults in Britain are recommended
to take 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on at least five days a week.
Latest figures show that one in
four people in Britain are obese.
Eight in 10 men and almost 7 in 10
women will be overweight or obese by 2020and cases of devastating health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and
stroke will increase with the nation’s waistlines, the recent
Government-commissioned Foresight report warned.
Last year, a report estimated that
22 per cent of newlywed women put on weight within a year of the ceremony, with
the average gain being 21 pounds.
More than half of those who took
part in the survey of 3,000 married women said they no longer worried about
their appearance and weight after their marriage.