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Guys Married at 25 Have Better Bones, Study Finds

Update Date: Jan 22, 2014 03:33 PM EST

According to a new study out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), getting married could do more for one's physical health than previously believed. Several studies in the past have found that being married can improve mental health. In this new study, researchers reported that men who married at the age of 25 or older have better bones.

"There is very little known about the influence of social factors-other than socioeconomic factors-on bone health," Dr. Carolyn Crandall, professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said. "Good health depends not only on good health behaviors, such as maintaining a healthy diet and not smoking, but also on other social aspects of life, such as marital life stories and quality of relationships."

For this study, the researchers examined data from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study. This study recruited people between the ages of 25 and 75 from 1995 to 1996. As a part of the study, the participants were re-interviewed in MIDUS II from 2004 to 2005. From this data, the researchers focused on hip and bone-density measurements, which were recorded by standard bone-density scanners. The researchers analyzed this data for a total of 294 men and 338 women throughout the nation.

The researchers found a strong, positive relationship between men aged 25 and older who were married and their bone health. The researchers also found that men in stable, marriage-like relationships had better bone health than divorced men and men who have never been married.

"Very early marriage was detrimental in men, likely because of the stresses of having to provide for a family," said study co-author Dr. Arun Karlamangla, a professor of medicine in the geriatrics division at the Geffen School, reported by Medical Xpress. "Specifically, never marrying, and experiencing a divorce, widowhood, or separation are associated with poor bone health in men, whereas poor marital quality is associated with poor bone health in women."

For women, the researchers did not find a direct relationship between women's marital status and bone health. However, the researchers did find that supportive partners were tied to improve bone strength for women. A supportive partner was defined as one that was appreciative, understanding and emotionally supportive.

The study, "Marital histories, marital support, and bone density: findings from the Midlife in the United States Study," was published in Osteoporosis International.

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