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Marriage Minutes: Marriage Troubles Linked to Obesity
Ohio State University researchers had couples eat high fat meals and the results weren't as fun as it sounds.


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New research shows that marital fights may contribute to weight gain.


What the researchers found was that those who had a history of depression and exhibited marital hostility were negatively impacted in how the body was able to process the meal they consumed.”
The following is a news item selected by the Hitched editors during the week of October 23, 2014.

A Troubled Marriage and Depression Can Promote Obesity

Researchers from Ohio State University recruited 43 healthy couples, ages 24 to 61, who had been married at least three years and measured how their mood affected metabolism. In a two-day study the couples were given a questionnaire that asked a variety of things, including past mood disorders. The couples were then given high fat meals, which included eggs, turkey sausage, biscuits and gravy. The meals, which ran 930 calories and 60 grams of fat, mimicked that of common fast food meals.

Two hours after the couples ate, they were then asked to discuss and attempt to resolve tough issues such as in-laws, money and communication. What the researchers found was that those who had a history of depression and exhibited marital hostility were negatively impacted in how the body was able to process the meal they consumed.

In fact, after blood samples were taken along with a measurement of oxygen and carbon dioxide, those couples who had previously suffered from depression and engaged in a heated argument with their spouse "burned an average of 31 fewer calories per hour and had an average of 12 percent more insulin in the blood than low-hostility participants in the first measurement after the meal; the level didn’t match other participants’ lower levels until two hours after eating," according to the news release by Ohio State University.

In the release, Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study said, "These findings not only identify how chronic stressors can lead to obesity, but also point to how important it is to treat mood disorders. Interventions for mental health clearly could benefit physical health as well."

Kiecolt-Glaser also added, "Meals provide prime opportunities for ongoing disagreements in a troubled marriage, so there could be a longstanding pattern of metabolic damage stemming from hostility and depression."

Triglycerides (a risk factor in cardiovascular disease) and insulin levels (which contribute to the storage of fat) were also elevated; meaning these couples are also staring at the risks of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Do You Text Differently When You're Married?

If you're a data scientist and self-professed nerd, what do you give your husband for your six year wedding anniversary? A card? Flowers? A new iPhone? What if for your first anniversary he had given you a Word document of all your text messages since your first date? You take things to the next level. Alice Zhao wrote in a blog post for the Huffington Post that she crunched the data from all their text messages starting from when they were dating to their present-day marriage six years in. What she found was a stark difference in the language they used.

Some of the highlights include the greater use of the word "love" during their dating years and "ok" in their married years. The words "home" and "dinner" stayed pretty consistent throughout their relationship. When comparing the times of when these text messages took place, Zhao looked at the messages sent the month after their first date, their engagement and their wedding. The texting scoreboard shows messages flying from about 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. while they were dating, where as their married messages began in the morning and concluded at the end of their workday.

Take a look at Zhao's charts, word clouds and breakdowns on her website A Dash of Data—and let us know how your texting habits have (or have not) changed over the years.


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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.



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