We've all heard of sympathy weight gain -- the pounds Dad puts on when his wife is pregnant -- but a new Duke University study shows that fathers also tend to gain weight after the baby arrives. Moreover, the more kids a couple has, the greater Dad's risk of becoming obese.
The study of about 4,500 middle-aged couples found that with each child a man's risk of obesity increased 4 percent (a woman's risk rose 7 percent). Truls Ostbye, MD, the study's coauthor, says the physiological changes of pregnancy, such as the tendency to retain fat, may explain Mom's weight gain, in part, but what about Dad's?
"Behavior is an underlying cause for both parents. With each additional child, they have less time to prepare healthy food and to exercise," he says.
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Originally published in American Baby magazine, June 2004.