NZ Herald 13 June 2015
Marriage has long been said to be good for health. Now, however, a study has suggested that while married men are healthier than their single counterparts, women hardly benefit from tying the knot.
Research by University College London, the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found single women did not suffer the same negative health effects as unmarried men.
In fact, middle-aged women who had never married had virtually the same chance of developing metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity – as their married counterparts.
Although single women showed slightly higher levels of a biomarker signifying a greater risk of breathing problems, it was far lower than levels in unmarried men. The same was true of a biomarker for heart problems which was raised 14 per cent in single men but was barely noticeable in unmarried women.
Harry Benson of the Marriage Foundation pointed out that there was more to marriage than health benefits.
“The whole point of marriage is to affirm commitment that couples make for their own stability and for the benefit of their children,” he said.
“Married parents are far more likely to stay together, independent of age or education. Whether marriage makes couples healthier is neither here nor there.”
A major study in 2011 found that being married lowered the risk of premature death by 15 per cent. World Health Organisation research in 2010 found marriage could reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.