New Dads Put On More Than A Stone In The Year After Becoming Fathers
Having kids can be a stressful business. The late nights, the crying, the sheer fact that you have to learn to care for a helpless wee thing and have absolutely no experience in what it is exactly that you're meant to be doing...
So it's understandable that dads gain a little weight in the process, but just how much timber new fathers put on might come as something of a surprise.
A new survey has found that the average dad puts on 8.5 kilos (1st 3lbs) in the year after they have their first child, with one in five papas piling on a full stone in the 12 months after the birth.
Researchers for LighterLife Fast surveyed 1,500 men to get a handle on post-birth weight gains, with surprising results.
Twenty-five percent said that they noticed their weight gain via seeing themselves looking heftier than they'd imagined in a photograph, while another 27 percent said that it was their clothes becoming tighter that alerted them to weight gain.
More worryingly, 26 percent said that they were made aware of their weight gain via other health concerns and 15 percent because they became out of breath while playing with their kids.
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Science backs up their findings. A 2015 paper published by Northwestern University in the United States found that new fathers experienced an increase in their BMI after they became parents, while those who did not actually saw it decrease.
"Fatherhood can affect the health of young men, above the already known effect of marriage," said Craig Garfield, lead author of the study. "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."
The weight gain is attributed to a variety of factors: loss of free time, reduction in exercise, poor sleeping patterns and increased eating.
"You have new responsibilities when you have your kids and may not have time to take care of yourself the way you once did in terms of exercise," said Craig Garfield. "Your family becomes the priority."
"We now realise the transition to fatherhood is an important developmental life stage for men's health."
There are, of course, ways to avoid piling on the pounds.
Napping and buying blackout blinds can help with sleeping patterns, which are crucial for getting the metabolism working properly and thus ensuring that the body makes the most of the nutrients that it receives.
Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox