The dad bod trend went viral when Clemson student Mackenzie Pearson explained the body type and the physique’s appeal to women.
“The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’ It's not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either.”
Well, according to science, Pearson’s ideal body type is not just a fad but a biological phenomenon.
In a study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, researchers tracked the body mass index (BMI) of 10,263 fathers and non-father over 20 years and found the fathers gained about 4 pounds compared to men without kids. An average 6 foot tall man living with his children saw a 4.4 weight increase, the dad not living with his children gained 3.3 pounds and the childless man lost 1.4 pounds.
While expecting parents vow for healthier lifestyles when having kids (like quitting smoking or exercising more), the reality is unhealthy snacking and the pressures of parenting effect both parents physically.
“From my own point of view, we wouldn’t have as many pizzas in the house if the kids weren’t around, and we wouldn’t have the brownies my wife makes if the kids weren’t around,” said Dr. Craig Garfield, a pediatrician involved in the study. “Having kids around changes not only the food in the house and what is available to you for meal, but also for snacks. It also changes whether you are able to find time to get out and exercise and get enough sleep and take care of yourself.”
Yet despite the dieting fail, dads soar over non-dads (and even dads that don’t live with their kids) in terms of financial success and happiness. Married fathers tend to be richer, less depressed and better educated.
So while gaining a few pounds, might be a minor bump in the road for parenthood, the benefits of overall wealth and well-being surely outweigh the fate of the dad bod.