Couples who decide to get healthy together are more likely to be successful, suggests a new study.
Researchers found people are more successful in taking up healthy habits if their partner makes positive changes too.
Scientists at University College London (UCL) looked at how likely people were to quit smoking or lose weight in relation to what their partner did.
The findings, published in the journal Internal Medicine, show that people were more successful in swapping bad habits for good ones if their partner made a change as well.
Among women who smoked, 50 percent managed to quit if their partner gave up smoking too at the same time, compared with 17 percent of women whose partners were already non-smokers, and eight per cent of those whose partners were regular smokers.
The study found that men were equally affected by their partners and were more likely to quit smoking or lose weight if their partner made the same behaviour change.
The research looked at 3,722 couples, either married or living together and over the age of 50.
Study co-author Professor Jane Wardle, director of Cancer Research UK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL, said: ‘Unhealthy lifestyles are a leading cause of death from chronic disease worldwide.
‘The key lifestyle risks are smoking, excess weight, physical inactivity, poor diet, and alcohol consumption.
‘Swapping bad habits for good ones can reduce the risk of disease, including cancer.’
Dr Sarah Jackson, lead author of the study at UCL, said: ‘Now is the time to make New Year’s resolutions to quit smoking, take exercise, or lose weight.
‘And doing it with your partner increases your chances of success.’