New Dads Gain Weight
New dads gain an average of 3.5 to 4.5 pounds, whether they live with their children or not, concludes new research from Northwestern University.
For their study, scientists looked at 10,253 males over a 20-year period and examined their BMI at early adolescence, later adolescence, mid-20s, and finally in their early 30s. The researchers controlled for weight contributing factors such as age, race, education, income, daily activity and marriage status.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, found that a 6-foot-tall man living with his child gained an average of 4.4 pounds – a BMI increase of 2.6 percent – after first becoming a dad. Dads with a similar height who did not live with their kid put on an average of 3.3 pounds – a BMI increase of 2 percent.
The study also found that the average 6-foot-tall man who was not a father lost 1.4 pounds during the same period.
The researchers believe the new responsibilities associated with being a father lead men to neglect their personal exercise and dietary health. They suggest that pediatricians are in an ideal position to offer nutritional counseling and mental health education to new fathers as they begin treating their children. Such early intervention may help reduce the risks men with higher BMIs can face as they age, such as prostate cancer and heart disease.