The New York Times reports it is widely known that women tend to gain weight after giving birth, but now a large study has found evidence that even among childless women, those who live with a mate put on more pounds than those who live without one. The differences, the scientists found, were stark.
After adjusting for other variables, the 10-year weight gain for an average 140-pound woman was 20 pounds if she had a baby and a partner, 15 if she had a partner but no baby, and only 11 pounds if she was childless with no partner. The number of women with a baby but no partner was too small to draw statistically significant conclusions. There is no reason to believe that having a partner causes metabolic changes, so the weight gain among childless women with partners was almost surely caused by altered behavior. Moreover, there was a steady weight gain among all women over the 10 years of the study.