Thursday, June 17, 2010

Marriage & Health

Although single men may tout the joys of living the carefree "bachelor's life," it turns out married men may have an advantage. Numerous studies have proven that married life is good for men, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Married Men Lead Healthier Lifestyles
A survey of 127,545 people, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, found that married people reported better overall health, less low back pain, fewer headaches and less stress than singles. They also were less likely to drink and smoke, and were more physically active.

However, the one area where married men did not win out was weight. While 65 percent of all men were overweight or obese, about 71 percent of husbands fit this category. (For women, the rates of overweight and obesity were virtually the same at 48.6 percent for married women and 48.5 percent for women in general.)

"In general, married adults were the least likely to experience health problems and the least likely to engage in risky health behaviors, with the notable exception of being overweight," said health statistician Charlotte Schoenborn.

Other studies have found that men who are divorced or separated have double the risk of suicide, and a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dying prematurely. Plus, lower blood pressure in men has been linked to support from a spouse. Married men even tend to get promoted at work more often.

What Makes Marriage So Healthy?
No one knows for sure why married men tend to be healthier than their single counterparts, but theories have been offered. One is that being married gives you advantages in terms of money, encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle and social and psychological support--all of which are protective of health.

Charlotte Schoenborn gave another theory known as "marital selection." She explains it as, "The theory that healthy people get married and stay married, whereas less healthy people either do not marry or are more likely to become separated, divorced or widowed."

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