Marriage is known to be good for health but many women gain extra weight after marriage.
That's the conclusion of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, a 10-year study from the School of Human Movement Studies at the University of Queensland. The findings appear online and in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"The weight gain appeared to start when they married, then worsened when they had their first child," said lead author Wendy J. Brown, Ph.D. "There was no effect on the rate of weight gain of having a second baby."
From 1996 to 2006, researchers periodically surveyed a randomly selected group of 6,458 Australian women ages 18 to 23 at study's start.
"Women with no partner and no baby averaged 11 pounds over 10 years. With a partner and no baby they gained about 15 pounds, and if they had a partner and a baby they gained 20 pounds," Brown said.
"The so-called energy-balance variables like eating too much and moving too little had an effect, but the estimates of weight gain are adjusted for differences in these factors," she said.
Brown said that young women ages 18 to 33 are gaining weight at a higher rate than their mother's generation.
The expert added: "If it continues, this generation will end up with more health problems later in life. It is important to understand the causes of this weight gain."