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Dads struggle to shed their 'baby weight'

The struggle of new mothers to shed their "baby weight" is so well documented that the market is saturated with books, DVDs and experts proffering advice.

Little consideration on the matter has historically been given to the father, perhaps for obvious reasons.

But research has found that men put on an average of one and a half stone after having a child.

A lack of time to exercise, increased consumption of takeaway meals and sleepless nights are to blame as pressures mount on the "modern dad".

The study found that 40pc of new fathers are unable to pull their weight in the family home because they are so exhausted.

One in 10 has to "gear himself up" to rejoin family life at the end of the working day and one quarter admit having to sneak in naps on week days in order to cope. A fifth have fallen asleep whilst reading to their children.

Paul Keenan of Benenden Healthcare, which carried out the study with the Men's Health Forum, said the modern lifestyle was having an impact on fatherhood.

"As we approach Father's Day, we discover that the modern dad's health is suffering under the strain from diverging pressures such as work and family life," he said.


"As a result, dads are taking shortcuts with their diets, leading to increased weight, more sedentary lifestyle and eventually running the risk of health scares."

Researchers warned the family unit was suffering as a result, with many fathers claiming they felt too fed up or too tired to play with their children and admitting they snapped at them as a result of being over worked and under nourished.

Adrienne Burgess, joint CEO of the UK-based Fatherhood Institute, said: "When a child is born, most men, just like the mothers, are running around from morning until night and become far more home-focused.

"It is really up to both parents to make time for the other to get out and go for a jog or go to the gym."

But while the strain of having a new baby is blamed for the initial weight gain, research suggests the extra pounds are rarely shed.

Dr Ian Banks, president of the Men's Health Forum, said: "Men are facing an uphill struggle with their health when they become fathers.

"We're saying you only live once.

"If you want to be around to see your kids grow up, you need to stay healthy."