Spouses are very often united not only by a common household, but by the peculiarities of their lifestyle. They are able to influence each other’s behavior. Over time, they can become similar in many aspects of their lifestyle that affect the development of disease. In addition, people often initially choose partners from their social class, with the same educational level and even with a comparable body mass index. This emphasizes that the same factors affect the health of spouses. Therefore, many scientists consider family to be an important point of application for prevention.
In a new study, scientists sought to clarify what risk factors for cardiovascular disease may be one for two spouses. The work assessed the lifestyle and health of 5.4 thousand couples from the Netherlands and 28 thousand couples from Japan. Wives and husbands were, on average, 50 and 60 years old, respectively.
In both countries, married people often had similar risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These include smoking, drinking alcohol, waist circumference, weight and body mass index. Likewise, the spouses often had comparable blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The more length of life people had together, the higher the likelihood that the degree of their physical activity would be the same.
Smoking turned out to be the most predictable overall risk factor: the likelihood of smoking was 5-7 times higher if the partner smoked. In cases where one spouse had hypertension, the risk of developing it in the other increased by 20-45%. The study authors found that there were similar correlations for diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
The scientists point out that their data underscore the importance of lifestyle factors in the development of cardiovascular disease. They believe there is a need to create guidelines for disease prevention targeted at married couples.