A lot of men say that becoming dads gave them something to live for. That attitude shows up in a number of studies that show that fathers are less likely to get involved in criminal activity, and that they often give up unhealthy habits (like smoking) and risky behavior (like bungee jumping or running red lights).
But for a lot of dads, the stress of trying to balance work and family really takes a toll. On average, men put on an average of more than 20 pounds after becoming fathers. And a just-published study found that 60 percent of fathers are so overweight that they may be jeopardizing their health.
Part of the problem is that many dads are so exhausted when they come home from work that they take shortcuts with their diets–such as eating tons of junk food–and they spend more and more time on the couch. Bad combination. Poor diet + sedentary lifestyle = increased risk of heart attack or other health scares.
Here are some of the findings:
- More than a quarter of dads sneak in naps during weekdays in order to cope. One in twenty have even snoozed while on the toilet at work.
- 42 per cent have used energy drinks to keep them going through the day but an exhausted fifth have fallen asleep while in the middle of reading to their children (I’m guilty of that one)
- One in five dads has texted someone he knew was in the same house to avoid getting out of his seat.
- One in five dads regularly finds himself breathless after running up the stairs.
The study also interviewed children (ages 16-30) of some of the dads and found some pretty scary stuff:
- 30 percent suspect that their dad might be suffering from a more serious health issue.
- 60 per cent say dad isn’t fit or very healthy. Half feel their dad is overweight.
- A third of young adults think their dad is stubborn and won’t deal with health issues unless he’s pushed.
So how can you tell whether your facing a potential health problem? Well, if at least one of the following statements is true for you, the researchers say you need to get up off your butt and start working out. Now.
- I frequently order takeout food at work
- I take naps on the weekend
- I drink alcohol on more than two weeknights
- I snap at the kids when I didn’t mean to
- I finish food on someone else’s plate
- I drive to shops when I should have walked
- I consume nothing but tea or coffee over the course of a day
- I take naps on weekdays
- I bought candy for the kids intending to have some of it myself
- I get out of breath running up the stairs
- I have texted a family member who was in the house
- I got fed up with my family life because I’m just too tired
- I’ve eaten more than one takeout meal in a day
- I have tried and failed to touch my toes
- I’ve had to gear myself up to face family life after work
- I’ve hidden snacks/take out containers from my wife
- I’ve smoked without my wife’s
- I’ve napped on the way to work
- I’ve bought games and DVD s to keep the kids occupied so I could rest
- I have the number of local takeout restaurants on speed dial