When did people stop using common sense?

Health: Study: It's easier to live healthy together

It's easier to live healthy together: people can get rid of harmful vices such as smoking, poor nutrition or little exercise much more easily if their partner participates. This is what researchers from University College London report in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine". The chances of success would then be even better than if the significant other was already leading a healthy life.

Large-scale study

The scientists had observed more than 3,700 couples over the age of 50. The men and women from Great Britain were married or lived together without a marriage license. For smoking and physical activity, the status was queried every two years; for weight, there were four years between the information. Successful weight loss was rated when an overweight participant had lost at least five percent of their weight.

People whose partners renounce the same vice or who are overweight themselves and want to change this have a good chance of changing their behavior. In an active or normal weight partner who was already abstinent, the supportive effect was less pronounced or not at all pronounced.

Quitting together is easier

Half of all smokers with a partner who also smoked stopped tobacco consumption. If the man continued to smoke, the success rate was only 8 percent. If he was a non-smoker, at least 17 percent of women made it to abstinence. Male smokers were also much more likely to give up cigarettes if they had smoking partners who followed them when they quit.

"Unhealthy lifestyles are a common cause of fatal chronic diseases," said Professor Jane Wardle, director of Cancer Research UK's behavioral research center at University College London and a co-author of the study. "The greatest risks in lifestyle are smoking, obesity, too little exercise, poor diet and alcohol."

Education remains indispensable

The World Health Organization (WHO) pointed out on Monday that non-communicable diseases such as certain lung diseases, diabetes and strokes account for 16 million premature deaths a year. Most of them are preventable. WHO Director General Margaret Chan urged all states to increase their financial efforts to raise awareness about alcohol and tobacco abuse.

Sarah Jackson, lead author of the study, said, "Now is the time to quit smoking, start exercising or lose weight with New Year resolutions." And she added, "When you do it with your partner, it increases your chances of success." (dpa)