While getting married again may quell a man’s need for companionship, it may also make him pack on pounds. However, this may not be a bad thing in the big picture. According to research in the January issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2005; 59, 56–62), men who remarry tend to “stop trying” in terms of physical fitness, but they also tend to eat better.

The results are based on data from 38,865 men involved in a long-term study on the effect of change in marital status on health behaviors. Participants were between the ages of 40 and 75 at the onset of the study in 1986 and were surveyed every 4 years until 1994.

Compared with men who remained widowed or divorced, men who remarried gained weight and exercised less. However, their diets improved. Most men ate more vegetables and drank fewer alcoholic beverages. Even though men exercised less when they found a new bride, researchers noted that the flip side, “marital termination” (through divorce or death of a spouse), adversely affected men’s overall health.