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Stop those sit-ups! Science proves the existence of “dad bod”

It’s fair to say Leonardo DiCaprio has had a busy few years. When he wasn’t attracting almost ludicrous levels of sympathy because Forest Whitaker, among others, was favoured by the Academy Awards, he stopped doing crunches for a few weeks and became the poster boy for ‘Dad Bod’.

It was a weird moment, because a famous dude gamboling about with a water gun and looking truly happy for a preciously unconstructed moment, became a lightning rod for a whole mess of long-standing and fairly messy discussions.

Women were quick to point out the hypocrisy that this new trend in dudes relaxing and letting that cookie pouch swing being celebrated as sexy and cool was in direct contrast to the body standards that women were still expected to adhere to.

For more on that here’s Jon Stewart and Kirsten Schaal:

Whereas elsewhere things got a little stranger with a crowd-funding campaign to create a realistically proportioned male doll. Whether this strikes you as an issue of gender equality or a side note, it’s fair to say it blew up for a while there.

But what are we actually talking about here? Obviously, being a dude gives you a pass on the whole pregnancy deal, so unless you’re sympathy eating, then the whole thing makes no sense in the first place.

Right? I think you know where this is going.

A study, recently published in the American Journal of Men’s Health and reported by that cornerstone of men’s health and fashion GQ, turned up the following, rather surprising, tidbit:

“The study, which used data that was collected beginning in 1994 over 20 years, followed 10,253 men and their body mass indexes (BMI). Over that time period, it revealed that fathers had an average increase in BMI, as opposed to their childless (not necessarily unfulfilled) counterparts, who actually saw their BMI decrease.”

Considering the extent of the study and test sample, these findings are not easy to argue with. So what kind of growth are we talking about here? 2.6 per cent for fathers that live with their children and two per cent for fathers who live separately. While these figures aren’t huge, it has been suggested that they may be conservative.

This study does nothing to ease the fears that the scales of the world remain tipped towards dudes, nor does it go anywhere to explain the cause of this increase, but the only unifying factor here is the presence of little nippers. It is fascinating.

Childless schmoe that I am, I always assumed that getting three hours’ sleep a night and running around trying to make sure little Timmy doesn’t dive off things headfirst would keep a fella pretty trim. Wrong again!