Both marriage and divorce affect the health of postmenopausal women. A new study reveals that blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) tend to worsen if a woman marries and improves if she divorces or part ways.
The study appeared in a journal of Women’s Health. Researchers analysed data from more than 79,000 postmenopausal women. The findings indicate that marital transitions had a direct impact on health indicators —waist circumference, BMI and blood pressure and behaviours — smoking, alcohol use, physical activity and diet.
The results showed that the BMI of a postmenopausal woman increased with marriage and decreased with divorce. Divorce was not only associated with a lower BMI, but also a reduction in waist circumference with improvements to diet and increased physical activity.
The article titled ‘Relationship between Marital Transitions, Health Behaviors, and Health Indicators of Postmenopausal Women: Results from the Women’s Health Initiative’ describes the relationship found between marital transitions and both health indicators and behaviours.
“These new results are in stark contrast to earlier findings in which marriage has been associated with improved overall health and divorce with higher mortality,” explained Susan G Kornstein from Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women’s Health.
The study was conducted by Randa Kutob and researchers from Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Cancer Center of University of Arizona (Tucson); Brown University School of Public Health (Providence, RI); University of California, Davis; University of Texas Health Science Center (San Antonio); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and University of Iowa College of Public Health (Iowa City).