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.
Focus on maintaining weight is more about appearance than health?
Spouses who were less happy in their marriage were more likely to consider leaving their partner, Meltzer said, and on average gained less weight over time.
"So these findings suggest that people perhaps are thinking about their weight in terms of appearance rather than health," she said.
The study suggests young couples should be educated and encouraged to think about their weight as a factor of maintaining their health.
"We know that weight gain can be associated with a variety of negative health consequences, for example diabetes and cardiovascular disease," Meltzer said. "By focusing more on weight in terms of health implications as opposed to appearance implications, satisfied couples may be able to avoid potentially unhealthy weight gain over time in their marriages."
|Contact: Margaret Allen|
Southern Methodist University