It may not be the short-term solution offered by most diets – but getting married could be one of the best ways to lose weight, research suggests.
Men and women who are carrying extra pounds are more likely to shed them after they get hitched.
Scientists who tracked more than 300 individuals in their 20s found that those who were overweight when they wed dropped to a much healthier size within months of taking the plunge. And most were still slim up to eight years later.
Scientists found that those who were overweight when they got married dropped to a much healthier size within months of taking the plunge. (Stock image)
Those who were already trim when they got married stayed that way during their relationship.
But those who were plump and single remained the same size.
Researchers who carried out the study say it suggests that getting married is an incentive to fight the flab and live a healthier lifestyle.
The findings, published in the journal Personal Relationships, fly in the face of the idea that newlyweds tend to pile on the pounds once they settle down.
Previous studies disproved this idea and found marriage is associated with healthy eating and increased physical activity.
However, scientists were unsure whether this was because healthy single individuals were more likely to get married, rather than marriage actually changing behaviour among unhealthy singles.
Researchers said newlyweds tend to have healthier eating habits and benefit from the support of a partner. (Stock image)
To determine whether getting hitched improves a person’s health, researchers recruited 302 volunteers in their early 20s and checked their body mass index – which determines if someone is a healthy weight for their height – and relationship status twice a year for eight years. In this period, 38 per cent got married.
Among volunteers who were overweight or obese, getting married reduced the likelihood of them still being this weight eight years later by more than 90 per cent.
The researchers from the University of California, Davis said newlyweds tend to have healthier eating habits and benefit from the support of a partner.
And it’s likely that long-term couples who are not married but live together also have the same health benefits.
The researchers concluded: ‘Those with an unhealthy BMI are more likely to improve it after marriage – marriage itself appears to benefit wellbeing.’