The Guy I fell in Love with First – my Dad.
As I watch my Dad keep weight on as best as possible with tube feeding, I remember all the traveling he had to do for work. All those meals he had on the road. (and he drank) How he would finish what I didn’t eat. The focus was on me, my brothers, my Mom — not him.
But, Dad tried – he tried to keep running until a severe ankle injury stopped him (his ankle still swells 30 +years later – of course he never went to the Doctor). Dad was a great athlete and he’s still moving as much as possible to this day, but he did have a…
Its true — there is a type of body created by being a Dad. Especially a “resident” Dad.
- Though age is positively associated with BMI over all years for all men, comparing nonresident and resident fathers with non-fathers reveals different trajectories based on fatherhood status. Entrance into fatherhood is associated with an increase in BMI trajectory for both nonresident and resident fathers, while non-fathers exhibit a decrease over the same period.
The study was started in 1994-1995 collecting height + weight to calculate BMI (Body Mass Index) and fatherhood status. Covariates included age, education, physical health, income, number of children, screen hours, workouts, etc. The starting age range was 12-21 and the study was conducted over 20 years with data collected in four waves.
Men were grouped into three categories: resident fathers, non-resident fathers, and non-fathers. The trajectory of standardized BMI over time is shown below.
In a press release, the lead author of the study, Dr Craig Garfield, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and attending pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, said,
Fatherhood can affect the health of young men, above the already known effect of marriage. The more weight the fathers’ gain and the higher their BMI, the greater the risk they have for developing heart disease as well as diabetes and cancer.
So, the “Dad Bod” exists.
Weight gain associated with life transitions such as parenthood is a real concern, and public health, social, and clinical supports should be available for men during this time.
And we should be saying, “Thank You” to our Dad’s for giving their health up for us.
As I was reading the study, I wondered about the reasons for participants to be non-Fathers. Did they have a partner, male or female? Did that change the findings? Did marriage, in general, cause a male to gain weight whether there were children or not? Etc.
I think, in general, men who have families forget to take care of themselves.
The “Dad Bod” sacrifice.
And especially for Father’s Day – again, I’d like to Thank You.
Fatherhood is special. XO