Shelby Sun Articles
I told my wife about a recent study, "Honey, married people live nearly
a decade longer than unmarried people."
She smiled. Then asked "Who.the married men or the women?'
"Both," I said. "The data from federal death records showed that
married men lived 10 years longer than divorced men and married women
lived 9 years longer than divorced women."
To prove my point, I investigated the question further. A survey
conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in
1999-2002 explored the relationship between martial status and selected
health indicators and risk behaviors in an interview of 127,545 adults.
When they compared married adults with their divorced or separated
counterparts, the findings were intriguing.
- Fewer married adults were in fair or poor health (11% vs. 17%}
- Fewer married adults had activity limitations (12 % vs. 23%)
- Fewer married adults experienced low back pain (28% vs. 32%),
headache (15% vs. 19%), and serious psychological stress (2% vs. 6%)
- Fewer married adults had leisure time inactivity (37% vs. 43%),
cigarette smoking prevalence (19% vs. 35%), and heavy alcohol use (4%
In general, the married adults tended to outperform adults who were
never married, widowed, or those living with a partner.
I wondered, how scientists explained these differences. There are two
theories. First is the "marriage protection theory"- that is that
married people have more psychological, economic and social support
leading them to live healthy lives. Hence, marriage causes people to be
healthier and live longer. My wife believes in this theory.
The second theory is the "marriage selection theory" which is people
who are healthy tend to get married and stay married, while less
healthy people tend to not marry or get divorced. Hence, marriage is
just a byproduct of healthy behaviors, and doctors and parents cannot
prescribe it as an antidote leading to longevity and healthy living. I
believe in this theory.
The truth is likely somewhere in between.
I told my wife "The studies did find some down sides to being married.
Married adults tended to be obese or overweight (60 vs. 58%) and .. had
to deal with the stresses of the in-laws - something yet to be studied."
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