London - As a single woman, she watches what she eats and makes a point of going to the gym.

When she gets engaged, she diets to ensure she fits into her wedding dress.

So it’s a pity all that hard work will do her a fat lot of good.

Women pile on the pounds after they get married, research shows.

Researchers who tracked the lives and figures of more than 10,000 people found that women tended to put on weight after tying the knot.

The US researchers believe women stop taking care of themselves to look after their husbands when they get married. Those who are less kind would say that some simply stop caring about their appearance after they have achieved their objective of snagging a husband.

Married men, however, stay relatively trim. That is, until they divorce - then their weight balloons as they struggle to fend for themselves.

The US researchers scrutinised the answers that 10,071 men and women gave when surveyed about their health from their teens and 20s until they were in their 40s and 50s.

They particularly focused on whether weight changed in the year or two after getting married or divorced.

Ohio State University researcher Dmitry Tumin said: “Clearly, the effect of marital transitions on weight changes differs by gender.

“Divorces for men, and to some extent, marriages for women, promote weight gains that may be large enough to pose a health risk.”

They aren’t sure why the sexes differ but think it could be down to their differing roles in marriage.

Professor Zhenchao Qian said: “Married women often have a larger role around the house than men, and they may have less time to exercise and stay fit than unmarried women.”

The research, presented at the American Sociological Society’s annual conference, also showed that age matters.

Mr Tumin said: “As you get older, having a sudden change in your life like a marriage or a divorce is a bigger shock than it would have been when you were younger and that can really impact on your weight.” - Daily Mail