Your Kid Is Making You Fat

A study finds that adults with children are fatter than those without

Go ahead; blame Junior.

A new study found that parents gain significantly more weight over time than adults without children. Parents reach an average BMI of 31 by the time they’re in their late 60s—that puts them squarely in the obese category, which is defined as having a BMI over 30. Adults without children peak in the overweight zone, with a BMI of between 25 and 29.

Apparently, 26 is the golden age for childbearing: Parents who have their first kid at about that age gain the least amount of weight over time. The further you get away from age 26 in either direction—whether younger or older—the more rapid the weight gain.

And there are differences between parents, too. Fathers gain more weight than mothers, on average, likely because their lifestyle choices—smoking, drinking—are impacted most. As fathers give up those habits, they turn to food, researchers suggest, which leads to more pounds over time. For women, having more than one child increases the weight gain.

The takeaway? Try, oh, try to be in good shape before you dive into parenthood. Once those pounds creep up, they become more difficult to shed as you age.