But while women tend to gain weight after their wedding day, men are most affected by marital breakdown.
Both kinds of “marital transition” can act as “weight shocks” that put on the pounds, a study has found.
“Divorces for men and, to some extent, marriages for women promote weight gains that may be large enough to pose a health risk,” said study leader Dmitry Tumin, from Ohio State University in the United States.
The likelihood of major weight gain after marriage or divorce increased most for people past the age of 30. “For someone in their mid-20s there is not much difference in the probability of gaining weight between someone who just got married and someone who never married,” said Mr Tumin, a doctoral student in sociology. “But later in life, there is much more of a difference.”
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Researchers used survey data on more than 10,000 people to investigate whether marriage and divorce led to weight gains or losses. They took account of a wide range of other factors that can influence changes in weight, including pregnancy.