Couples who attempt to lose weight together are almost three times more likely to be successful than those who go it alone, a recent study has found.
Heart attack survivors in the Netherlands were given lifestyle plans to aid recovery and cut their risk of suffering another episode. Partners were encouraged to join in so that scientists could compare the success rates between those who attempted to lose weight together and those who didn’t.
Survivors keen to drop the pounds lost more weight if they were supported by their partner, results showed. And they were 2.7 times more likely to lose weight over a year than those who did it without the support of a partner.
But partner participation did not influence the success rates of quitting smoking or exercising more, which the researchers suggest requires more personal motivation.
The study, led by Lotte Verweij, a registered nurse and PhD student at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, was presented during a virtual briefing at the annual European Society of Cardiology congress.
Verweij said: “Our study shows that when spouses join the effort to change habits, patients have a better chance of becoming healthier, particularly when it comes to losing weight.”
A heart attack is when heart tissue dies because blood to the heart is blocked, most often owing to a build-up of fat or cholesterol. It’s different from cardiac arrest, when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions.
It’s important for heart attack survivors to receive follow-up care so doctors can monitor their recovery and prevent another episode. Such monitoring typically includes annual blood pressure checks, a blood test for cholesterol and kidney function, and a review of medication.
The three main ways to prevent a heart attack are eating more healthily to avoid hardening of the arteries, stopping smoking and keeping blood pressure down, says the UK’s National Health Service.
Being active can lower your blood pressure by keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition. When a person has persistent high blood pressure, it puts extra strain on the arteries and heart, increasing the likelihood of a heart attack.
For the study, 824 heart attack survivors were randomly assigned to receive either standard care with the addition of a lifestyle programme or standard care alone.
A total of 411 patients in the intervention group were able to pick from three programmes for weight reduction, physical activity or to stop smoking.
Research had previously shown that heart attack survivors were more likely to adjust their behaviour if they were given programmes to guide them.
This study, which tracked patients for a year, wanted to see if partner contribution helped make those changes easier. About 48% of partners participated, defined as attending at least once.
Patients with a participating partner were almost three times more successful in losing weight compared with those who did it alone. They lost more weight compared with patients who had a partner who did not join the programme, said Verweij, but she did not reveal by how much. – MailOnline