London: It seems that marriage and divorce are both bad for the waistline -- while women are most likely to gain weight after tying the knot, men tend to pile on the pounds following a break-up, say researchers.

A new study of more than 10,000 people surveyed between 1986 and 2008 found that both marrying and getting divorced can have a "weight shock" effect that leads to rapid weight gain, especially in over-30s.

But the researchers say there was a marked difference between men and women in which marital event was the most traumatic on the waistline, an English daily reported.

In fact, the researchers used data from the survey in which men and women were weighed every year to see how many pounds they gained or lost in the two years following a marriage or divorce.

Up to the age of 30 there was little impact on the weight of either men or women, but after this point the probability of weight gain after marriage or divorce began to rise steadily until the age of 50.

Both sexes were more likely to gain weight in the two years after a divorce or marriage than someone who had never been married, the study showed.

Dmitry Tumin of Ohio State University, who led the study, was quoted as saying, "Clearly, the effect of marital transitions on weight changes differs by gender. Divorces for men and, to some extent, marriages for women promote weight gains that may be large enough to pose a health risk."

The impact was greatest on older people as a marriage or divorce comes as a greater shock later in life, he added.

The study, however, is not clear why men's and women's waistlines respond differently to marriage and divorce.

But Prof Zhenchao Qian, one of the researchers, said, "Married women often have a larger role around the house than men do, and they may have less time to exercise and stay fit than similar unmarried women.

"On the other hand, studies show that married men get a health benefit fr

(Agencies)