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The “Dad Bod” Can Only be Celebrated So Much

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Fat man exercising with dumbbells and looking at camera.

We want to be kind to ourselves and others about body-type. This has become a popular topic of discussion in recent years, coming off of a trend of physical fitness that made most average people feel uncomfortable in their skin. The term “Dad Bod” even took hold, praising the less-muscular physique seen on celebrity men like Ben Affleck (when not filming one of his action-flicks). As trends change, we hear less praise for the softer physical side of the male body, and this comes with its benefits.

As much as we agree that we are all worthy of love no matter how we look, there are reasons why weight should be managed, especially as we age. If you are concerned about aging in the healthiest possible manner, there are reasons to say “so long” to the dad bod of yesteryear and Hello to a fit new you. A study out of Harvard suggests that even a pleasantly plump physique could correlate to a shorter lifespan as well as concerning health conditions.

This particular Harvard study collected data from both the Nurse’s Health Study, conducted from 1976 to 2012 and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, conducted from 1986 to 2012. In combination, these two historical studies collected important health data for approximately 93,000 individuals. One of those measurements was weight. The first recording occurred at age 18 for females, and age 21 for males. The last recorded weight took place at age 55.

Participants who gained weight experienced more markers for certain medical conditions. The percentage of risk increased as follows:

  • 30% increased risk for Type II diabetes
  • 14% increased risk for hypertension
  • 8% increased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • 5% increased risk for premature death

The correlation between weight and healthy aging was found to decrease by 17% for each 11 pounds a person gained during the study. In addition to the listed health risks, men who hold excess weight are also more likely to suffer urological problems such as prostatitis, enlarged prostate, and even prostate cancer. Erectile dysfunction is also associated with weight.

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