Being married may help keep you slim, experts have found. A study of people with type two diabetes revealed that single people were twice as likely to become overweight than those who were married.
The researchers, from Yokohama City University, also found that married men were less likely to suffer metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity which damages the blood vessels – although the same did not apply to women.
The experts, who presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting in Munich, said living with a husband or wife was the ‘most fundamental’ form of social support.
Doctors have long known that being married helps people stay healthy.
Experts think that people in a loving relationship are more likely to eat healthily, take their medication, and go to the doctor if they are sick.
The researchers examined 270 people with type two diabetes with an average age of 65, of whom 180 were married and 90 were single.
They measured the participants’ height and weight, calculated their body mass index and measured the fat content of their body.
Compared to the single group, the married group were 50 per cent less likely to be overweight.
They also had lower levels of overall fat in their body – at 18.9kg compared to 23.5kg.
Married men were also 58 per cent less likely to have developed metabolic syndrome than single men, although the same difference was not found for women.
The authors, led by Dr Yoshinobu Kondo, wrote: ‘Our findings show that being married and living with one’s spouse reduced the risk of being overweight by approximately 50 per cent among patients with type two diabetes.
‘Men who were married and lived with their spouse also exhibited a risk reduction of 58 per cent for metabolic syndrome.
‘In contrast, being single was a risk factor for overweight status and metabolic syndrome, especially among male patients.
‘These findings suggest that social supportive care is needed to help single patients with type two diabetes manage their body weight.’
Previous research, published in June this year by experts at Aston Medical School and the University of East Anglia, found that married people are also more likely to survive a heart attack.
Survival chances rise by 14 per cent if someone is married, they found.
Source Daily Mail