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Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher: Divorce's health consequences

November 17, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog

It's officially over. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are splitsville. Moore, 49, and Kutcher, 33, had been married six years.

Moore released a statement in which she said, "As a woman, a mother and a wife there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life."

Divorce is a heavy subject to contemplate, and it comes with health consequences as well. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, middle-aged women who are divorced are 60% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than their married counterparts. Divorce didn't seem to worsen the outlook for men -- though that may just be due to the fact that they start dealing with heart disease at a much earlier age than women.

In any case, a 2011 study presented at the American Sociological Assn. showed that women tend to gain weight after marriage, but men put on the pounds after divorce.

Unhappy marriages, however, don't do much good for your health either. According to a 2006 study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, "marital strain accelerates the typical decline in self-rated health that occurs over time" and "this adverse effect is greater at older ages." That's partly  because such strain is a source of stress, which can weaken the immune system, among other things. These seemed about as true for men as for women.

But whether getting married or divorced, it should be noted from the 2011 study, both sexes generally seemed to gain weight in a period of marital change. That's probably because both men and women deal with financial strain, emotional stress and other difficult challenges in the wake of such events.

On top of all those pressing issues, Moore may have to deal with her Twitter handle too. 

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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