March 2, 2016

Janet Taylor, MD Feedback from TappMD Expert
Janet Taylor, MD
Marital Satisfaction Vs Health
Watch your bottom-line if you are happily married. Marital satisfaction is a wonderful thing, but it is associated with weight gain. Tip: be happy and eat healthy meals.

Apr. 3, 2013 — On average, young newlyweds who are satisfied with their marriage gain weight in the early years after they exchange vows, putting them at increased risk for various health problems related to being overweight.

That is the finding of a new study on marital satisfaction and weight gain, according to psychologist Andrea L. Meltzer, lead researcher and an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

“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,” Meltzer said. “In contrast, couples who were less satisfied in their relationship tended to gain less weight over time.”

The study’s researchers said the findings challenge the long-held notion that quality relationships are always beneficial to one’s health. Instead, they said, the findings suggest that spouses who are satisfied in the marriage are less motivated to attract an alternative mate. As a result, satisfied spouses relax efforts to maintain their weight.

The article, “Marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage,” is published online in the scientific journal Health Psychology.

The study was based on data from 169 first-married newlywed couples whose marital satisfaction and weight were tracked over the course of four years.

Marriage associated with weight gain; divorce associated with weight loss

Previous psychological research has established that marriage is associated with weight gain and that divorce is associated with weight loss. But the role of marital satisfaction in those changes in weight is less clear, Meltzer said.

Previous research also has demonstrated that marital satisfaction is associated with health maintenance behaviors, she said.

“For example, studies have found that satisfied couples are more likely to take medications on time and schedule annual physicals,” Meltzer said. “Yet the role of marital satisfaction and actual health is less clear.”

Meltzer set out to examine the association between marital satisfaction and changes in weight over time.

For four years, the newlyweds reported twice a year on their marital satisfaction and steps toward divorce. They also reported their height and weight, which was used to calculate their body mass indices.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Southern Methodist University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

 Journal Reference:
  1. Meltzer AL, Novak SA, McNulty JK, Butler EA, Karney BR.Marital Satisfaction Predicts Weight Gain in Early MarriageHealth Psychology, 2013; [link]

 

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Janet Taylor, MD

Dr. Janet Taylor is a Community Psychiatrist in New York City, the Bronx and Queens. The practice of Community Mental Health is extremely rewarding to Dr. Taylor, because "being on the frontline with individuals and their families battling the emotional and economic impact of Mental Illness is where I can make a difference". She attended the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky for Undergraduate and Medical School. An internship in Internal Medicine at the Miriam Hospital-Brown University followed. Her psychiatric residency was completed at New York Medical College -Westchester Medical Center. She received a Master’s of Public Health in Health Promotion/Disease Prevention from Columbia University. She was a recipient of the 2008 Woman in Medicine Award (National Medical Association- Council of Women’s Concerns).

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