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Tying the Knot Is Tied to Longer Life Span, New Data Shows

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 10, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Married folks not only live longer than singles, but the longevity gap between the two groups is growing, U.S. government health statisticians report.

The age-adjusted death rate for the married declined by 7% between 2010 and 2017, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Not only is the rate for married lower, but it’s declining more than any other group,” said lead author Sally Curtin, an NCHS statistician.

Statistically, death rate is the annual number of deaths for every 100,000 people. It’s adjusted so that a 26-year-old and an 80-year-old married or widowed or divorced are on equal footing.

The new study reported that the death rate for never-marrieds declined only 2%, while that for divorced people hasn’t changed at all.

Worst off were the widowed, for whom the death rate rose 6%. They have the highest death rate of all the categories, researchers said.

Married men in 2017 had an age-adjusted death rate of 943 per 100,000, compared to 2,239 for widowers. The death rate was 1,735 per 100,000 for lifelong bachelors and 1,773 for divorced men.

Married women had a death rate of 569 per 100,000, two-and-a-half times lower than the 1,482 rate for widows. The death rate was 1,096 for divorcees and 1,166 for never-married women.

Part of the marriage benefit could be explained by the fact that people in good health are more likely to marry, said Katherine Ornstein, an associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Once you’re in a marriage, there are a host of tangible and intangible benefits that give you a health advantage, experts said.

Married people are more likely to have health insurance, Ornstein said, and therefore, have better access to health care.

Being married also means you have someone looking out for you and reinforcing healthy behaviors, said Michael Rendall, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland.

Continued

“Having somebody there who’s your spouse will tend to promote positive health behaviors — going to the doctor, eating better, getting screened,” he said.

This is particularly true of men, who previous studies have shown derive more health benefits from marriage than women.

“Men tend to have fewer skills than women in terms of looking after themselves,” Rendall said.

Finally, the companionship of marriage staves off health problems associated with loneliness and isolation, Ornstein said.

“Social support and the social engagement that comes with being married is a huge benefit for mental health and physical health,” she said.

All these benefits also explain why widowed people tend to do so badly after the death of their spouse, Ornstein said.

Widows and widowers have to deal with heartache, loneliness and financial stress, she said. They no longer have a partner looking after them, so they are more likely to neglect their health.

The study found some gender differences in trends.

While the death rate for married men and women declined by the same 7%, women’s overall death rate was much lower.

But the death rates among men in all other marital categories remained essentially the same between 2010 and 2017, researchers found.

On the other hand, the death rate for widowed women rose 5%, while the rate for never-married women declined by 3% and remained stable for divorced women.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Sally Curtin, M.A., statistician, U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Hyattsville, Md.; Katherine Ornstein, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor, geriatrics and palliative medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; Michael Rendall, Ph.D., director, Maryland Population Research Center, and sociologist, University of Maryland, College Park; NCHS’sHealth E-Stats, Oct. 10, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Star Trek fans tie the knot at “Klingon wedding”

1 of 2. Sonnie Gustavsson (L) and Jossie Sockertopp from Sweden pose with their wedding cake after getting married in a Klingon wedding ceremony at the ”Destination Star Trek London” convention in London October 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

LONDON | Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:59pm EDT

LONDON (Reuters) – One couple has boldly gone where no other has gone before by tying the knot in Britain’s first Klingon wedding ceremony at a Star Trek convention to celebrate the much-loved TV series in London on Friday.

The couple, 23-year-old Jossie Sockertopp and 29-year-old Sonnie Gustavsson, came from their native Sweden to marry at the “Destination Star Trek London” event, which will see 17,000 “trekkies” flock to London’s ExCel centre this weekend.

The pair, who met four years ago at the retirement home where they both work, were inspired to hold the ceremony after watching an episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, in which Klingon character Worf marries science officer Jadzia Dax in a traditional Klingon ceremony.

“We saw the clip from the series…and we thought it was very romantic about beating hearts and a battle for each other. We really liked it, that’s why we want to do this,” Sockertopp said.

It took around three months to plan the event, which was Britain’s first wedding ceremony to contain blessings in Klingon, the guttural-sounding language spoken by the Star Trek characters of the same name.

The bride eschewed the traditional human white dress for a floor-length red robe with a diamante headdress, matching her husband-to-be. Prosthetic foreheads with deep wrinkles and stringy black manes completed the look.

Three bangs of a gong ushered the bride and groom to an altar adorned with decorative screens and a throne made from animal bone and hide. The celebrant, Peter Wyllie, conducted the wedding ceremony and included some phrases in Klingon.

“That was a bit of a challenge and I hope I got some of the sounds right. I had it written phonetically, so that made it a little easier,” he said, adding that it sounded similar to the Welsh language.

It was the second wedding in two days for the couple, who had a legal ceremony at a registry office in Sweden on Thursday.

“The legal part is done, this is just a fun ceremony,” Sockertopp said.

Both weddings had been kept a secret from their families until a few days before the newlyweds jetted to London. None of their relatives attended the Star Trek-themed nuptials.

“Mum didn’t talk to me for three days and my father wonders if there is something contagious about weddings as my big sister got married in secret last week. It must be something in the gene pool,” Gustavsson said.

The newlyweds will spend their honeymoon at the convention, which sees all five captains from the Star Trek TV series appear on stage together for the first time. The gathering is the first major Star Trek live event in Britain. for more than a decade.

(Additional reporting by Edward Baran and Steve Hignett, editing by Paul Casciato)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Tying the Knot Ups Women’s Drinking Rate, Lowers Mens’

SATURDAY Aug. 18, 2012 — Can marriage — or divorce — drive people to drink?

A new study suggests the answer depends a great deal on gender: Marriage appears to lead to more drinking among middle-aged women, while divorce seems to drive middle-aged men to the bottle.

The research looked at people in general, and not everyone will follow the pattern. Still, the findings suggest that “marriage and divorce have different consequences for men’s and women’s alcohol use,” said study author Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati. “For men, it’s tempered by being married and exacerbated by being divorced.”

Researchers already know that men drink more than women, but women have been catching up in recent years, Reczek said. It also appears that men slow down their drinking when they’re married, especially for the first time, she said.

But what about later in life and when marriages end, especially due to divorce? That’s where the new study comes in.

Reczek and colleagues examined the results of U.S. surveys conducted in 1993 and 2004. They looked at just over 5,300 people (who were aged 53 and 54 in 1993) and tracked them over time. In addition, they interviewed 130 people directly.

“We find that unmarried and divorced women actually drink less than their continuously married counterparts,” she said. “For men, those who were recently divorced have the highest number of drinks and men who are married have the lower number.”

For women, the average number of drinks per month was nine for those who were married and 6.5 for those who were divorced over that time; for men, the numbers were 19.2 and 21.5, respectively. For those who got divorced during that period, the average monthly number of drinks per month was 10 for women and 26 for men.

What’s going on? In some cases, women said their husbands introduced them to alcohol, Reczek said, so “they just drink more because their husbands drink more. Women talk about how when they get divorced, they lose the person encouraging them to drink.”

As for men, they tend to turn to alcohol to cope with stress as compared to women who turn to food or family members, she said. It’s also possible that single men are more likely to hang out with their male friends who enjoy an intoxicating beverage, Reczek added.

Mary Waldron, an assistant professor of Human Development at Indiana University, said research into drinking and marriage — particularly among people in their 20s — has been murky. “There is some research to suggest entry into marriage is associated with greater reduction in drinking for women than men,” she said. “But other research suggests the opposite, and still other studies report similar reductions in drinking for men and women upon marriage.”

The new study is unusual in that it suggests women who have been divorced for a while seem to be at the lowest risk of drinking, Waldron said. That conflicts with previous research.

Why does this study matter? Waldron said: “It’s important to consider the role of marriage and transitions out of marriage, through divorce or widowhood, on risks for heavy or problem drinking, including risks for the next generation.”

The study is scheduled to be presented Saturday at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Denver. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

For more on alcohol, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Posted: August 2012

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