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Sociology: Why love happiness often makes couples fatter

Sociology: Why love happiness often makes couples fatter


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Happiness in love makes couples overweight
Happiness in love, bad luck with weight? This is the result of a study by the Max Weber Institute for Sociology at Heidelberg University. While singles tend to lose weight, couples in long-term relationships appear to be gaining weight. Why is that so? These and other exciting questions are answered in the article.

A happy love makes you fat, while single life or crises in a partnership often go hand in hand with significant weight loss. This is the conclusion of Professor Dr. Thomas Klein from the Max Weber Institute for Sociology at Heidelberg University as part of a comprehensive study of the relationship between happiness in relationships and body weight.

The reason for the weight gain in a happy partnership is apparently the lack of competitive pressure, reports the sociology professor as part of the publication of his study "Through thick and thin" on the influence of partnerships and partner market on body weight in the "Cologne Journal for Sociology and Social Psychology". The expert emphasized that the tendency to lose weight in the event of crises in the partnership or among singles can also be explained by the competitive pressure.

Competitive pressure goes hand in hand with lower body weight
In order to track down the connections between partner happiness and body weight, the Heidelberg sociology professor conducted a representative survey with around 2,000 participants. Prof. Dr. Small found that study participants who lived in a happy relationship often increased, while single people in search of partners often decreased significantly.

The scientist cited, among other things, the competitive pressure on the partner market as the reason for this fundamentally different effect on body weight. The higher this was, the more the singles would have paid attention to their weight, in the hope that a good figure would improve their chances on the partner market. In order to remain attractive, the singles apparently restricted their food intake considerably and also exercise more to maintain their weight. In contrast, the competitive pressure in the partnership is minimal and, according to the expert, the couples can feast to their hearts' content, so many are increasing significantly. However, this only applies until the first crises in the relationship, because then the people in the partnership usually decrease again, explained the Heidelberg sociology professor.

Losing weight in relationship crises: preparing for the partner market
On the one hand, Prof. Klein cited the reason for the weight loss in relationship crises that “less common meals” are consumed in unhappy relationships. On the other hand, "problems can have a psychosomatic effect" and thus result in weight loss, the specialist emphasized. In addition, the weight loss can also be interpreted as a kind of "preparation for the partner market", because with a good figure the chances of finding a partner increase, according to the Heidelberg sociology professor. This assumption is also supported by the knowledge that the weaker competitive pressure on the partner market means that the weight differences between singles and couples are significantly smaller, the expert explained.

As part of his research, the Heidelberg sociology professor not only analyzed the relationships between the partnership, the competitive pressure in the partner market and body weight, but also took a closer look at why couples often have a similar body size. According to the sociologist, this is not due to the eating habits or adaptation processes during the partnership, but to the choice of partner. For example, “thin usually thin” partners would choose, whereas fat people prefer thicker partners. (fp, sb)

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