How healthy is the Dad Bod?

The Dad Bod

The ‘Dad Bod’; the Internet is abuzz about it.

Apparently the term has been used by teenagers for  years, but only last month entered mainstream usage. This was a result of student, Mackenzie Pearson, in Clemson University,  writing for her college website an article ‘Why Girls Love The Dad Bod’ 

Essentially Pearson writes the ‘Dad Bod’ is not about having a chiselled six pack but rather a figure that says:

‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily at weekends and enjoy eating right slices of pizza at a time’

So should we be celebrating this body type?

In her article Pearson dwells very much on the pros of the aesthetics of this figure type.

As a women and a wife I’m going to keep my opinions about this between me and my Mr Dad with a Bod; who incidentally does not like the term.

As a doctor I’m not interested in appearances but rather what a body type might mean for an individual’s health.

Pearson goes onto say in a later interview that the man with the ‘Dad Bod’ just looks like your average healthy guy


A healthy looking Guy?

Defining health is complex, so I’ll content myself with using the current definition from the World Health Organisation:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

How does this fit with the ‘Dad Bod’?

In my reading, no-one has said it explicitly, but part of the appeal of this figure is that it appears to belong to someone who has a good balance between these three aspects of health; the physical, social and emotional.

To paraphrase Peasrson, the man with a ‘Dad Bod’ looks as if he cares for his physical health by exercising at least occasionally; emotionally, he’s not that hung up on his appearance or adhering to a strict ‘health regime’ and he looks as if he has a fun social life.

I am definitely an advocate for health encompassing these three important domains.

However, Mr ‘Dad Bod’  I can’t really tell much about your health by your appearance. How you look does not tell me anything about your emotions or social life. I have no idea if you have a good body image, just because you have an average build. Just as I cannot guess how much you enjoy pizza. Or alcohol for that matter.


In fact I cannot even make the assumption that you are physically healthy from your body type.

I might be able to make a rough gauge of your body mass index by looking at you, but that is about it.

Body mass index is a calculation of weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. A healthy body mass index is generally between 18.5-25.


So Mr ‘Dad Bod’ even if I assume you conform to the outlined definition of your physique what might this mean for your health? 

Well I’m all for you eating the occasional pizza if it’s good for your emotional and social wellbeing but be careful to keep an eye on your BMI especially when you reach for that seventh or eighth slice.

Then Mr ‘Dad Bod’ I’d like to know how much you actually drink; the Royal College of Physicians recommends no more than 21 units per week for men, with 2-3 alcohol free days to recover after drinking.

I’m afraid according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre Statistics from 2014, among men who had drunk alcohol in the preceding week, 55% drunk more than the recommended daily amount.

So if you ‘drink heavily’ on the weekends I suspect you may be over doing it. You are not advised to regularly drink more than 3-4 units per day.


Then there’s your exercise. How much does ‘going to the gym occasionally’ really mean? As an 19-64 year old guy you should be doing at least 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week, in addition to twice weekly muscle strengthening activities.


Perhaps I am taking Mr ‘Dad Bod’ a little too seriously, after all as I suggested earlier he doesn’t really exist.

At work I am taught to use visual clues to about a person’s health right from the start of an examination. But in real life we can sometimes make assumptions based on physical appearance all too easily.

Essentially it is unhelpful to label a person according to physique. We are all individuals.

So the current internet obsession with the ‘Dad Bod’ may have given a few men the confidence to strut their bodies via Instagram. A bit of fun and a bit of body positivity is a good thing.

But ultimately, despite Person’s summary description, we cannot rely on this to tell anything useful about an individual’s emotional, social or physical wellbeing.

The outward appearance a ‘Dad Bod’ or any other physique does not actually tell me anything that really matters to me; either professionally about their health, or personally about the man behind the bod.

The Twinkle Diaries
Fitness 4 Mamas

20 thoughts on “How healthy is the Dad Bod?

  1. mealsandmakes June 16, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    This is a great post, I like your definitions of all the elements of the ‘Dad bod’ statement. It has been food for thought for me- What health really means and that you can’t judge a book by its cover alone. #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 16, 2015 / 8:43 pm

      Thanks – you know I could probably write a whole essay on what health really means but that statement is one of my favourites!


  2. NorthEastFamilyFun (@NEFamilyFun) June 16, 2015 / 12:42 pm

    Great post – I think we can easily concern ourselves with the pressure and focus the media has with women’s body image ect…. that sometimes men don’t get a look in. I’ve never heard of a ‘dad bod’ before!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 16, 2015 / 9:04 pm

      It’s a fairly new term I think, but there have been a few posts about it recently so just thought of add my say too! Actually the term is meant to promote body confidence by saying you don’t need a ‘perfect’ figure to be attractive; but I’m still not overly keen on a persons physique being used to define them!


    • tenminutesspare June 16, 2015 / 8:45 pm

      I hope he enjoys it… My hubby doesn’t really like the term at all so I thought it s good chance to express that it is the daddy that is important not the body!


  3. Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) June 16, 2015 / 5:24 pm

    Love this post. I get a bit fed up of all the pictures in the media and new hypes etc. YOu can’t always tell anything from just a picture so your points are really good. xx #twinklytuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 16, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Thanks! Yes that is it, I guess fundementally aesthetics don’t really reveal the important stuff.


  4. Mama June 17, 2015 / 2:36 am

    Too true. Body shape doesn’t speak to health. I’m at my thinnest ever but I’m also my unhealthiest and have high cholesterol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 23, 2015 / 2:53 pm

      Yes absolutely; health isn’t accurately reflected by body shape and you simply can’t tell anything useful about anyone just by looking!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Abhishek June 17, 2015 / 12:06 pm

    Very encouraging post there Mrs. R :-). I think the Royal College for Physicians (especially Mrs Behl being VC there) will surely suggest the units but not sure how many follow – In Scotland things have drastically changed with the new rules on drink and driving. Apprently you cannot have alcohol in your system the next day (atleast 16 hours) which will be a ticket on your licence and taken as a criminal offense.

    I normally don’t drink at all but yes, I will agree with the going to the gym proposition. I was going for about 3 days a week but will be making excercise as my main target in a few months time.

    Thanks for posting as the “Man Bod” needs a bit of Pain to receive a lot of Gains 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 23, 2015 / 7:46 pm

      Thanks abhishek! It’s interesting that the new legislation has made a difference to people’s habits – quite encouraging really. Good for you for trying to find a bit of time and energy for exercise too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. mummascribbles June 21, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    Great post. It’s funny how the woman bod is scrutinised so regularly and yet the Dad bod is something I have not heard of! My other half is probably at his healthiest and fittest since having Zach! And even he could do better (as could I!). Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 23, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      I think the trend is only fairly recent but I’m not really a fan of the terminology. Like your other half my hubby is fitter now as a parent than he ever was before. Yet the term ‘dad bod’ seems to imply that dad’s may have less interest in exercise than in beer and pizza! Thanks for hosting the linky too! X


  7. booandmaddie June 23, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    This is a great post, I wasn’t even aware of “The Dad Bod” term or trend. Personally, and I know I run the risk for being crucified, I think there is a very fine line between welcoming that of course we are all individual and unique and therefore it’s great to promote “healthy” body images, so that our children grow up appreciating that you don’t need to look like a supermodel to be happy and healthy, and encouraging people to be unhealthy by starting a trend or fad which as you correctly say doesn’t represent an accurate picture. I wouldn’t want my OH to be eating pizza and drinking beer regularly for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 23, 2015 / 7:53 pm

      Thank you. And I actually think you are right it’s a really difficult balence. Ultimately i guess it would probably best that appearance and health are disassociated as one does not necessarily reflect the other. However I can’t foresee a society where that is likely to happen any time soon! Thanks so much for your comment.


  8. Vanessa Jane Holburn June 23, 2015 / 3:12 pm

    I agree that looks do not always equate to health – particularly as what we perceive as a ‘fit’ body is often the result of photoshopping and/or extreme diets/workout schedules. I’m also not a fan of thinking it’s ‘ok’ to eat crap and not care about your health. There seems to be so little middle ground in health – extremes at either end of the spectrum just don’t work for the human body. Why can’t we celebrate normal (which is NOT the same thing as the average) body weights and lifestyles? #FitnessTuesdays

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenminutesspare June 23, 2015 / 7:58 pm

      I absolutely agree that we are often are surrounded (particularly online!) by examples of fitness that do not represent the ‘norm’. Actually in a way I think the ‘dad bod’ trend IS trying to celebrate the middle ground. Unfortunately because it focuses very much on outward appearance rather than actual health it doesn’t really work for me. Thanks so much for taking time to comment!


  9. Mirka Moore (@Fitness4mamas) June 24, 2015 / 6:40 pm

    Absolutely loved your article, and found it very interesting. I have not come across this term before, and have to agree that it’s really sad how much we are surrounded by perfect or norm body images. i think the most important is to make sure our bodies are the healthiest the possible and ofr that you do not need to look like a model. Thanks for linking #FitnessTuesday

    Liked by 1 person

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