A new study has proven that moms aren’t the only parents who gain weight after having a baby. While the scientific community has speculated for a while now that dads also go through this experience, the new study is the first to investigate the issue.
Researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine from Northwestern University have found that on average, new fathers gain somewhere between three (3) to five (5) pounds once the baby gets home. They explained that when young men get to the age where a lot of them become fathers for the first time, their body mass index (BDI) has already started showing a modest increase.
Once the baby is brought home and parents have to take care of it day in and day out, their body mass index starts increasing a lot faster. It’s also worth mentioning that these young men enter fatherhood with a body mass index that’s already eight percent (8%) higher than that of their childless peers.
As parents have to first and foremost take care of their baby, they end up having less time to work out at the gym and cook their own meals (choosing to buy less healthy take out instead), and their body mass index goes up as a direct result of their change in lifestyle.
For their long-term study, the researchers looked at data gathered from 10.623 young men over a period of 20 years. Many of the subjects were recruited when they were just 12 years old, and some of them were even followed up to the age of 34.
The results showed that six (6) years after the birth of their child, live-in dads gained an average of roughly .6 body mass index units. What this means is that an average 5-foot-10-inch young man who previously weighted 175 pounds was set to gain four (4) extra pounds.
During the same time frame, men who had not had a baby had a body mass index that went on decline. At the other extreme, men who had had a baby but weren’t living with it had a body mass index that went way up. It’s worth mentioning that this last group entered fatherhood with a body mass index that was much lower than that of non-dads and that of resident dads.
The team from Northwestern University concluded that the experience of first time live-in dads appears to be paralleling that of first time live-in moms. Many previous studies have focused on women, followed them for anywhere between four (4) to ten (10) after having a baby, and found that women who had become parents for the first time typically gained somewhere between one (1) to three (3) pounds.
However, women who decided to have a second baby and women who went into their first pregnancy overweight or obese experienced a greater postnatal weight gain – an average of three (3) to thirteen (13) pounds when compared to women who did not have any babies.
An interesting finding is that fathers seem to have a great influence over the weight of the child. The study revealed that in families where mothers had a normal weight, but fathers were overweight, the child was four (4) times more likely to end up being overweight or obese, when compared to families where both parents had a normal weight.
What’s more, if the father was obese, the child was fifteen (15) times more likely to end up being obese as well.
The study was published, earlier this week, on Tuesday (July 21, 2015), in the American Journal of Men’s Health.
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