Men seem to stop trying when they remarry, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. They put on weight and cut down on exercise.
But, overall, remarriage is good for their diet, boosting their vegetable intake and reducing their alcohol consumption?particularly in younger men?the research showed.
The findings are based on almost 40,000 participants of a long term study into chronic illness. All of the participants were male health care professionals, excluding doctors, and they were between 40 and 75 years of age at the start of the study in 1986.
The men were surveyed every four years on their marital status, diet, and health, up to 1994.
Compared with men who remained widowed or divorced/separated, men who remarried put on weight and cut down on the amount of exercise they took.
But their diet improved, and they ate more vegetables, lean poultry and cut down on sugary drinks. The effects were stronger in younger men who remarried after the loss of a spouse.
Compared with men who stayed married in any four year period, men whose wives died increased their alcohol consumption and decreased their vegetable intake. Marital break-up signified weight loss.
The authors conclude that the break up of a marriage through death or divorce is bad for men's health, and especially their diets.
Dr Patricia Mona Eng, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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