Your Partner Impacts Your Weight More Than Your Upbringing

The lifestyle habits of your partner can impact your own weight - even more so than your upbringing, research reports.

When it comes to diet and exercise, couples in middle age are influenced by one another more so than their past experiences, inherited traits or habits, the study found.

"Although genetics accounts for a significant proportion of the variation between people, our study has shown that the environment you share with your partner in adulthood also influences whether you become obese and this is more important than your upbringing," said Chris Haley, study leader and professor at the University of Edinburgh.

Positive lifestyle habits trump genetic profile

The study included data on 20,000 people from Scottish families. Comparing factors like genes and environment to health and obesity, researchers found that positive lifestyle changes in adulthood can play a significant role in battle obesity - no matter how genetically prone a person is to gain weight.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine last year also found that when one partner changed to a healthy behavior, the other partner was more likely to follow suit - which can apply in areas like smoking cessation, weight loss, healthy eating and more.

"The findings also show that even people who come from families with a history of obesity can reduce their risk by changing their lifestyle habits," Haley said.

Source: University of Edinburgh

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