Past studies have suggested that, upon marriage, men’s diets and weight improve, and women’s diets and weight tend to suffer a bit.
A large and singular UK study looks at the opposite end of the spectrum: how are men’s and women’s diets impacted by the end of their marriage, whether as a result of death or breakup.
After following roughly twelve thousand study subjects over nearly a decade, the researchers concluded that, upon the end of their marriage, men ate about twenty-five percent less fruit and vegetables than they did when they were married, but women’s diets underwent no significant change.
In the age range of the study participants, women in the couples were more likely to bear responsibility for shopping, planning and preparing food, which would at least partially explain the conclusion of no significant change in the diets of women before or after divorce.
While the study should provide some food for thought (pardon the expression), especially for men, the only variable considered was quantity of fruit and vegetable consumption … and the quantity was all self-reported at that.
Self-reported data is inherently suspect.
Not all fruits are nutritionally equivalent, nor all vegetables. In fact, fruits, in general, and vegetables, in general, are not nutritionally equivalent.
And these are just one or two components of the subjects’ diets. The remainder could tell a very different story.
Last, the study made no distinctions regarding the cause of the end of the couples’ relationships, nor which spouse initiated the end.
All of the above factors could call the conclusion reached into question.
But we should applaud researchers for studying participants’ nutrition in the context of divorce and separation. Even if they have just scratched the surface, it’s an important start.
Read more in this Wall Street Journal article: Diet After Divorce: Men vs. Women .