You Can Blame Being Overweight On Your Spouse
It’s been said that couples who are together for a long time begin to look like each other as the years pass. Now the findings of a new study suggest that this idea may also apply to being overweight; that is, perhaps you can blame being overweight on your spouse.
Please notice that I say “perhaps,” because the vast majority of adults make their own personal decisions about what they eat. That is, no one forces them to eat unhealthy, high-calorie foods or to take second or third helpings. They can say “no” and make other choices, and when you have a spouse or partner, you can make healthy--or unhealthy--decisions together that can affect overweight and weight loss: it’s up to you.
You can blame your spouse for overweight
In this new study, researchers wanted to better understand the relationship between obesity, lifestyle habits, and genetics and the impact on being overweight. Here’s how the study went.
An international team collected data from 20,000 people from Scottish families and evaluated their home environments during childhood and adulthood, family genetics, health, and obesity. The information came from the Generation Scotland project, which is a national collection of health data available to researchers.
The investigators found that by the time people reach middle age, the diet and exercise choices that couples make are impacted much more by their relationship with each other than by their previous lifestyle. In fact, the authors noted that “Past environmental influences, such as shared sibling environment or nuclear family environment, made relatively small or undetectable contributions to trait variation.”
Good news for couples and weight loss
According to the study’s lead author, Professor Chris Haley of the Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh, “The findings also show that even people who come from families with a history of obesity can reduce their risk by changing their lifestyle habits.” Therefore, couples can choose to help each other adopt healthy eating and exercise habits and work together to achieve weight loss goals, regardless of their past.
So while you may be able to blame being overweight on your spouse, you also can turn that around, take control, and make a joint effort to change your habits and lose weight together. In fact, just a 5 percent loss of body weight can yield big health benefits! So why not support each other to a healthier, longer, and lighter life!
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University of Edinburgh release
Xia C et al. Pedigree- and SNP-associated genetics and recent environment are the major contributors to anthropometric and cardiometabolic trait variation. PLOS Genetics 2016; 12(2): e1005804