Getting Married After College Graduation May Help Prevent Obesity, New Study Says

Study shows that marital timing is a key indicator of predicting whether or not someone will face the risk of obesity in their lifetime. The study, which was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, took data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which tracked about 14,000 people from the time they were 11 to 28-years-old. Participants were first interviewed in 1995, then 2001-2002, and finally in 2007-2008. Researchers, which included sociology professors from the University of North Carolina, the University of Colorado, and the University of Alabama, took that data and compared the body mass indexes of the participants before and after they graduated college, as well as when they got married.

Their study found that people who got married before earning a degree from a four-year college were 65 percent more likely to become obese than people who got married after college.

Richard Allen Miech, lead author of the study and research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan said,

People who earn a college degree before getting married are more likely to navigate the changes associated with marriage without shortchanging their health. On average, the initial transition into married life is associated with weight gain, as individualistic exercise tends to drop off and food consumption increases. However, new spouses who graduated from college before getting married typically earn more money than those who did not and can invest in their health by purchasing such things as a gym subscription or healthier, more expensive foods.”

Miech suggests that people who earn degrees before getting married have developed skills that would allow them to adjust their lifestyles into married life. However, those who earn degrees after being married may have difficulty trying to change their diet and exercise habits because they’re already used to their regular routines. People are more able to develop healthy habits in college on their own, which can be easily adapted and incorporated into a life with another person.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, more than one-third of the adult population are considered to be obese. Obesity can open you up to a ton of other health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes. In fact, most of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight or obese kills more people than being underweight.

While there’s no single known cause for obesity, there are many preventive measures you can take. Eating right, exercise regularly, and apparently study hard and make that trip across the graduation stage before making that trip down the aisle.