Head of the family might be the male, but the deciding authority and several other critical issues are predominantly dependent on the woman of the house. Marriage brings two people from very different backgrounds together forever. Married people are similar in many attributes such that even their footsteps start matching each other in sometime, obesity/weight loss of either of the couple affects the other and now the latest news is that, we can predict a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes based on his or her partner’s BMI. If you’re a man married to an obese woman, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases by multi-folds. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the vice versa is not true.
Obesity-linked Study of Married Couples-First-of-its-kind
Studies sometime back focused on how spouses share similar body weights and the results were finally dedicated towards following the same kind of eating habits and exercise schedules. This is the first-of-its-kind study analyzing the sex-specific impact of obesity in married couples on the risk of diabetes.
Researchers examined data from over 7000 adults (3,649 men and 3,478 women) in UK who were part of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging cohort. This study garners importance due to the mind-boggling fact that more than 422 million adults suffer from diabetes (WHO statistics) out of which 1.5 million deaths occur annually.
Couples are often commented that they are made for each other. That’s mainly because we choose partners who share similar interests, thinking and mindset. They even share the same kind of body weight and dietary/exercise habits while living together. While researchers tried to understand whether the risk of type 2 diabetes of an obese woman was mainly due to her own body weight, one thing that surprised them was the different responses given by both the sexes to underlying problems that arise due to body weight.
A husband’s BMI did not affect the risk of developing type 2 diabetes for a woman, but a woman’s BMI definitely did affect! A man whose wife had a BMI of 30 kg/m2 had a 21% greater risk of developing diabetes than a man whose wife had a BMI of 25 kg/m2, all these irrespective of the man’s BMI. While researchers have not yet analyzed and concluded what causes such detrimental consequences in a man due to his wife’s obesity, there are few theories suggested. They feel that women decide what every person in the house eats and hence, administer greater powers over their spouse’s dietary habits. Also, women mostly decide what to cook, what to shop and how much of every ingredient/food to buy which makes other family members dependent on her for health and wellness mostly.
A Prilimenary-Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes can be controlled, prevented or postponed minimizing the number of years the patient would suffer from the disease. If left unattended to, it can cause multiple complications and damage the heart, kidneys and eyes. As per Danish Diabetes Association, almost 35% individuals experience complications by the time they are diagnosed with diabetes.
Early detection of type 2 diabetes suppresses the need of medical treatment and the patient can start with lifestyle changes such as eating healthy food and doing physical activity regularly to increases the potential for successful prevention and treatment. Also, there is more scope for early detection of type 2 diabetes if we change our approach to the disease. Rather than concentrating on the individual, our approach must be to focus on the entire household. Any woman who suffers from high-risk diabetes chances shares the risk probability with her husband too. Also, women tend to visit a physician even when they slightly doubt the presence of diabetes while men rarely go to meet one. Either the wife should take her husband along the next time she visits her doctor or the doctor himself/herself can suggest bringing the patient’s husband along with her to check for the presence of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is already prevalent worldwide on a large-scale basis due to risk factors such as obesity and family history which increase the risk of the disease. This study provides an additional risk factor for diabetes screening. Husbands of obese women can take their wife’s obesity as a warning sign and get themselves tested for diabetes. Recognizing such risks can improve detecting diabetes at an early stage and also motivate couples to start eating healthy food and perform physical activity daily. Physicians too can recommend couple-based interventions to increase intake of healthy foods that are not energy-dense and encourage doing physical activity regularly. Obese/overweight individuals, people suffering from diabetes problems and those struggling to lose weight can get in touch with reputed dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com for getting back in shape or becoming healthy
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.