Couples Who Work Together to Get Healthy Have More Success
Couples whoِ work togetherِ toِ change theirِ unhealthy habits appearِ to haveِ more successful outcomes, a newِ study suggests.
Researchers inِ the U.K.
foundِ that men andِ women wereِ moreِ likelyِ to stop smoking, exercise moreِ or lose weight ifِ their partner joined themِ inِ becomingِ healthier.
The findings are published online today (Jan. 19) in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Changing as a couple
For theِ study, researchers looked atِ data collected fromِ more thanِ 3,700 middle-age orِ older couples inِ the United Kingdom whoِ wereِ married orِ living together.
The researchers looked atِ the effect ofِ one partner’s decision toِ makeِ a positive change inِ one ofِ three health behaviors — smoking, exercising orِ losing 5 percent ofِ their body weight — onِ the otherِ partner’s health habits.
The data showed thatِ when oneِ person changed anِ unhealthy behavior, havingِ a mate whoِ wasِ alsoِ making efforts toِ becomeِ healthier inِ the sameِ area overِ the sameِ time period hadِ a stronger influence thanِ havingِ a mate whoِ alreadyِ exhibited thatِ healthy behavior andِ could serve asِ a role model.
The researchers suggest thatِ behavior-change programs mayِ beِ more successful ifِ they wereِ aimed atِ couples ratherِ than individuals.
It’s unclear whatِ motivates couples toِ makeِ them change together, whetherِ it’sِ a joint decision toِ becomeِ healthier, orِ observing oneِ partner’s attempts toِ modify anِ unhealthy habit encourages theِ otherِ partner toِ alsoِ follow suit.
Regardless ofِ the reason, theِ key toِ behavior change isِ making thatِ change asِ easy asِ possible, Wardle said.