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New Dads Gain Weight, Too

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.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, June 2004.