Getting married before going to university or college is more likely to lead to obesity, according to new research.
While getting degree is generally considered very beneficial for health, this study shows the benefits are reduced for students who have already tied the knot.
This is because people eat more and exercise less when they get married, the researchers say.
And, if they haven't got a degree, they are unlikely to be able to afford healthy food and gym equipment to keep them in shape, they claim.
Professor Richard Miech, of Michigan University, said: 'People who get married before they earn a degree are about 65 per cent more likely to later become obese than people who get married after college.
'While a college degree has long been shown to be associated with lower levels of obesity, the results of this study indicate the health benefits of college do not accrue to people who get married before graduating.'
The study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, tracked almost 14,000 people.
The participants were recruited to take part in health study across the US when they were 11 - and were followed up until they were 28, on average.
Professor Miech and his colleagues compared each person's BMI (body mass index) before and after they graduated - and also looked at the timing of their marriages.
Those with a BMI of 30 or more were classed as obese.
Professor Miech said: 'People who earn a college degree before getting married are more likely to navigate the changes associated with marriage without short changing their health.'
'On average, the initial transition into married life is associated with weight gain, as exercise tends to drop off and food consumption increases.'
He added: 'However new spouses who graduated from college before getting married typically earn more money than those who did not.
'This means they can invest in their health by purchasing such things as a gym subscription or healthier, more expensive foods.'
Furthermore, people who earn a degree before getting married are 'more likely to have developed problem-solving skills'.
These allow them to overcome obstacles that may prevent them from exercising and eating healthy as they adjust to married life.
'On the other hand, our research suggests people who earn a college degree after marrying may have established exercise and diet habits that are more difficult to change later,' he said.
Marriage and weight gain go hand in hand, say the researchers. This is because people eat more and exercise less when they tie the knot
Source: Daily Mail