Sometimes a research study comes along with results that are just plain depressing, and today, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, is one of those times. Parenthood, declares a study from the University of Texas at Austin set to appear in Social Science and Medicine, makes you fat.
Oh, fine. The usual research caveat applies; there’s correlation, not causation. The study does not say that parenting makes you fat, just like none of the other research said that it makes you less happy or decreases marital satisfaction or increases your dexterity enough to allow you to put a teeny weeny purple sweater on a Polly Pocket doll. But here's the takeaway: “Adults with children gain significantly more weight over time than those without.” Have kids? You’re more likely to be obese in middle age than if you don’t. The news is even worse for those older mothers you’ve been talking about, Jess and Amanda. Older parents gain weight faster (as do those who have kids very young). The effect is stronger on men and on women raising more than one child.