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60-Second Health

Being Married Affects Heart and Waist

Married women gain weight but survive bypass surgery better than unmarried people do. Katherine Harmon reports on two studies

Marriage can have its ups and downs. New research shows that in the first couple years after marriage, women are much more likely than men to gain weight. For men, it's divorce that often leads to extra pounds. The swings for both genders were more pronounced after the age of 30. The findings were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.

But long-standing unions appear to help in the heart department. Married cardiac patients who had bypass surgery were two-and-a-half times more likely to survive another 15 years or more than those who were single at the time of their surgery. The findings were published in the journal Health Psychology.

Married patients who reported a "satisfying" relationship got the biggest boost in survival. Happy women especially benefited. They were nearly four times as likely to live long after bypass surgery as were the unmarried. So, even if it threatens the waistline, a good marriage might actually help mend broken hearts. Awww.

—Katherine Harmon

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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