Losing weight helps your partner slim down, too

In the journals


Image: © FlyMint Agency/Getty Images

People who make an effort to lose weight can help their partner do the same, according to a study published online Feb. 1, 2018, by Obesity.

The study tracked the weight-loss progress of 130 couples over six months. The couples were divided into two groups. In one group, one member of the couple was enrolled in a Weight Watchers program that provided in-person counseling and online tools to assist with weight loss. In the second group, one member of the couple received a four-page handout with information on ways to lose weight, like healthy eating, exercise, and weight-control strategies.

Over six months, 32% of spouses not assigned to a weight loss program in both groups lost 3% or more of their body weight — which is considered a measurable health benefit. The study also found that the rate at which couples lost weight was interlinked — if one member lost weight at a steady pace, the person's partner did too. Likewise, if one person struggled to lose weight, so did the partner.

The researchers speculated that those who were successful at losing weight created a "ripple effect," in which their partners were able to adopt many of the new healthy habits, too.