As it turns out, dads do gain weight after having children. Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a study that indicates that men who had children both gained weight and experienced an increase in body fat.
“Fatherhood can affect the health of young men, above the already known effect of marriage,” said Craig Garfield, one of the head authors of the study and a professor at Northwestern University. “The more weight the fathers gain and the higher their BMI, the greater risk they have for developing heart disease as well as diabetes and cancer.”
The researchers believe that these weight gains were most likely the cause of changes in lifestyle after having children. As men have children, their lives often become consumed with many of the responsibilities of fatherhood. This leaves fathers with less time to exercise and focus on leading a healthy life.
More than two thirds of the United States adult population is said to be overweight or obese. Every year, nearly 800,000 people will die from heart disease. This crippling disease has become the leading cause of death in the United States for all demographics. Medical costs associated with obesity and heart disease are estimated to be around $147 billion annually.
Studies like the one conducted at Northwestern University are playing an important role in determining exactly when people start to gain weight and why. This study points out the importance of providing fathers with knowledge and preventative strategies. If fathers are more aware that they may gain weight after children, they will be more likely to act in a way that prevents them from developing significant health problems.