Having a healthier partner may be one of the best things to do for our own health. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine finds that losing weight, stopping smoking or becoming more active is easier with a partner that has led the way in any or all healthy pursuits.
The study authors reviewed data collected by the UK Health Behavior Research Center at the University College London that followed 3,700 couples between 2002 and 2012—most of them ages 50 and older and married. Those that smoked at the beginning of the study were more likely to quit by the end of it if their partners quit smoking, and those that were physically inactive at the beginning of the study were more likely to become active if their partners did so first. About two-thirds of the men became newly active during the course of the study.
Men with wives that had lost weight were more likely to also shed pounds during the study, and women with husbands that didn’t lose weight were less likely to do so through the study period.