Meltzer, SMU, satisfied couples, gain weight

Health reporter Laura Donnelly writes in London’s Telegraph about the research of SMU psychologist Andrea L. Meltzer, who found that young couples who are satisfied with their marriage are more likely to gain weight, putting them at risk for various health problems associated with being overweight.

The article, “Getting married makes you fat, say scientists,” was published April 5.

Meltzer, lead researcher on the study, is an assistant professor in the SMU Department of Psychology.

The study’s researchers said the findings challenge the long-held notion that quality relationships are always beneficial to one’s health. Instead, they said, the findings suggest that spouses who are satisfied in the marriage are less motivated to attract an alternative mate. As a result, satisfied spouses relax efforts to maintain their weight.

The article, “Marital satisfaction predicts weight gain in early marriage,” is published online in the scientific journal Health Psychology at

The study was based on data from 169 first-married newlywed couples whose marital satisfaction and weight were tracked over the course of four years.

Read The Telegraph article.


Laura Donnelly
The Telegraph

Couples in happy marriages are likely to pile on the pounds, a study claims.

The research involving more than 160 newly-wed couples found that the more content they were in their relationship, the more weight they gained.

Over four years, couples were regularly asked to rate their satisfaction with their marriage on a scale, while their weight and height were measured.

The study found that for each unit rise in satisfaction, on average, men and women gained one tenth of a BMI unit every six months — the equivalent of a pound a year for a woman who is 5ft 4 ins tall and weighs 8½ stone.

Researchers suggested that those who were happy with their partners might be less likely to worry about their figures, because they were not motivated to look elsewhere for love.

Dr Andrea Meltzer, of the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, said: “On average, spouses who were more satisfied with their marriage were less likely to consider leaving their marriage, and they gained more weight.

Read The Telegraph article.

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