Men Living with Overweight Spouses May Be More Likely to Develop Diabetes

A recent study based upon the English Longitudinal Study of Aging has shown that elderly men in their 50s and 60s who are married to women with a high BMI may actually be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The study did not find that the reciprocal was true—women married to men with a high BMI were no more likely to develop diabetes than those married to men with normal BMI.

Another factor that played no part in the study was the previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Neither men nor women married to a diabetic partner were more likely to be at risk of the disease.

The main risk factor in developing diabetes, researchers noted, was not the BMI of the spouse. The husband’s weight, overall health, and activity levels were the determining factor. However, researchers do believe that in many of the pairings, the wife was responsible for setting the family’s overall eating habits. In traditional families, the wife prepared the meals, meaning her level of health consciousness did affect her husband’s overall health to some degree.

These findings were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes 2017 Annual Meeting on September 11, 2017.

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