Does marriage make you fat?
According to new research, within a few short years of getting hitched, married individuals are twice as likely to become obese than single people who are dating.
CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton discussed the study from University of North Carolina and the article Time magazine, which looks at how romantic relationships affect the waistlines and health of couples.
Researchers tracked changes over a handful of years in the weight and relationship status of 6,949 individuals, and their findings don't bode well for commitment: not only are married people more likely to become obese than those who are just dating, but young women who move in with their partner tend to pack on the pounds, too.
Ashton said the findings found women had a 63 percent increased risk of obesity, while men did not in the first year of marriage.
However, Ashton added, due to the limitation of the study, she suspects men "don't get off scot-free either."
Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez remarked there is a widely-accepted idea that once women attract a husband, they can let themselves go, but she called that "absurd" because women have to keep their husband, too.
Ashton said that idea might be at play, but said once people are married they may also eat more regularly and may exercise less, contributing to a more a sedentary lifestyle.
"In marriage, it's for sickness or health," Ashton said. "And this clearly stacks the deck against both men and women for more sickness than health."
This finding is also important for children, too, according to Ashton. She told Rodriguez children will be watching their parents, so it's essential for parents to set an example by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
"We need to not only be responsible for our own health," Ashton said. "But, apparently in marriage, also for that of our spouse. So if you see your spouse gaining weight, say something."
Copyright 2009 CBS. All rights reserved.