Couples better at keep-fit success

Couples are more likely to give up smoking, visit the gym, or lose weight if they get healthy together, a study has found.

People are better at taking up healthy lifestyle habits if their partners turn over a new leaf too, research shows.

Scientists looked at 3,722 couples, either married or living together, who were enrolled in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (Elsa).

They found participants were more successful at swapping bad habits for good ones if their partners also made the change.

For instance, among women who smoked, half managed to quit if their partner gave up at the same time. Trying to quit on their own proved much more difficult — 17% of those whose partners were already non-smokers succeeded, and just 8% of those whose partners were unreformed regular smokers.

Dr Julie Sharp of Cancer Research UK said: “Making lifestyle changes can make a big difference to our health and cancer risk. And this study shows that when couples make those changes together, they are more likely to succeed.

The study, published in the journal Jama Internal Medicine, was funded by Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, and the US National Institute on Aging.


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