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A Married Man is a
Healthy Man, Study Finds


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Men who become widowed or divorced may lose more than a spouse. They are also likely to give up a range of health habits that help protect against disease and early death, results of a study suggest.

The findings, which are scheduled to be presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Monterey, California, show that recently divorced and widowed men eat fewer vegetables, drink more alcohol, and are less likely to quit smoking than their married counterparts.

The study results support the idea that marriage is good for men. Research has shown, for instance, that divorced men are more likely to drink, smoke, commit suicide, develop Alzheimer's disease, and die prematurely.

In the current trial of nearly 30,000 men, vegetable intake declined by more than three servings per week in men following the death of a spouse, and nearly two servings per week after a divorce.

Divorced men were also more likely to smoke than their married peers but those who remarried were likely to quit, findings show. Widowed men were more likely than married men to drink heavily--more than 21 drinks a week.

It is not clear from the study why widowers or newly single men may be more lax when it comes to their health, but study co-author Dr. Ichiro Kawachi speculates that women have a salutary effect on men.

``Women in general are much better at keeping doctor and dentist appointments. And there may be an unequal distribution of cooking tasks at home...even though most women are also working in paid jobs,'' said Kawachi, from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.

Indeed, newly single men also increased their consumption of fried foods outside the home.

Kawachi said that doctors should be aware of their male patients' marital status and inquire about changes when their health habits begin to slip.

According to an earlier study, divorce or marital separation more than doubled the risk of suicide in men but was unrelated to suicide risks in women. Another study linked lower blood pressure in men with social support from a spouse.


Reference Source 89

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