The overwhelming joy from having a new child also comes with stress, lack of sleep, and even near-guaranteed weight gain. A new study from the American Journal of Men’s Health examined the BMI of more than 10,000 men from adolescence into their mid-30s through data collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The study compared three groups – nonfathers, resident fathers (who live with their children), and nonresident fathers. Researchers from Northwestern Medicine discovered the father groups had an increase in BMI between adolescence and fatherhood.
According to the study, a regular 6-foot-tall man living with his child gained an average of 4.4 pounds after becoming a dad for the first time. Nonresident dads gained an average of 3.3 pounds. Meanwhile, nonfathers lost 1.4 pounds over the same period.
The study accounted for factors like race, education, income and screen time as well as marriage status, which has been shown to affect weight. Even though weight gain is more common as you age, additional weight gain was shown to be a result of fatherhood, according to the study.
MP’s Take: I think that part of the reason for the increase in weight gain could be obvious stress factors from being a father. Being a new dad can bring so much joy but it can come with stressful conditions. Studies show that stressful people tend to eat more fatty foods and eat more in general. Also, factors like lack of sleep can cause weight gain. Having a newborn can keep you up at night so this may be part of the issue.