Want your partner to be fit? You can be a source of motivation for them as a new research suggests that people who make an effort to lose weight aren't just helping themselves, they may be helping others too.
The findings of the study showed that when one member of a couple commits to losing weight, the chances were good the other partner would lose some weight too, even if they were not actively participating in a weight loss intervention.
"When one person changes their behaviour, the people around them change," said the lead author of the study, Amy Gorin, Professor at the University of Connecticut in the US.
The study also found that the rate at which couples lose weight is interlinked.
For the study, published in the journal Obesity, researchers tracked the weight loss progress of 130 couples over six months. They recorded objective measurements of participants' weight and examined couples' weight loss trajectories over time.
The couples were divided into two groups. In one group, one member of the couple was enrolled in a structured six-month weight loss program that provided in-person counselling 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 healthy eating, exercise, and weight control strategies.
Contact with those individuals stopped with the handout.
The results showed that the untreated partners of both, those who tried losing weight on their own and those who participated in the structured program also, exhibited weight loss at three and six months.
The findings could add a new dimension to national guided weight loss programs that have traditionally targeted individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle, the researcher said.