Having children makes you fat, according to researchers.
Scientists from the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine have carried out a study on fatherhood and young men’s BMIs in what they say is the first of its kind.
It involved more than 10,000 men over a 20-year period and noted changes in weight gain and body mass index.
Results showed that men who did not become dads actually lost weight over the same time period.
About one-third of the men became fathers during the study period, typically in their early-to-mid 20s.
Those living with their children saw a 2.6 percent increase in their body mass index (BMI), on average.
That’s the eqivalent of about 4.4 lbs. for a 6-foot-tall man.
Fathers who did not live with their children saw a 2 percent increase in their BMI after entering fatherhood, or about 3.3 lbs. for a 6-foot-tall man.
Lead author Craig Garfield said: “Fatherhood can affect the health of young men, above the already known effect of marriage.
“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.”
He added: “For men who become fathers, their whole life changes. They may sleep less, exercise less, and experience more stress – all of which can lead to weight gain.”
The study checked weights of the men at four times over the two decades.
Researchers said they were not able to determine at what point in time dads put on the weight but did say it was possible most of it could have gone on during pregnancy.
Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years with predictions that more than half the population could be obese by 2050.
Currently one in four adults are obese.
A 2013 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation found that Britain has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, ahead of countries such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.