Married men with diabetes may be in better health than their single brothers. A new study found marriage may help people with type 2 diabetes keep off the pounds.
Japanese researchers studied people with type 2 diabetes and found those who were single had double the risk of being overweight when compared to those who were married. Men with the disease who lived with their spouses were also 58 percent less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, a combination of factors like abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The researchers didn’t find this same connection between marital status and metabolic syndrome in women, but lest you think wedded bliss benefits only a husband’s health, listen up. Myriad studies have found marriage provides a number of health benefits for both spouses:
- Married cancer patients are more likely to survive than single patients. Death rates among unmarried cancer patients are higher, especially among single men.
- Some research has linked marriage with a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia.
- A study from earlier this year found married folks have an increased likelihood of surviving a heart attack.
- Marriage can lower stress and reduce depression.
Of course, none of these positive benefits occurs in a vacuum. Researchers say the overall happiness in a marriage has to be taken into account. Just as happier marriages make for healthier people, conflict and strife in a marriage can cause poorer health.
Relationship experts cite a few possible reasons married people might be in better health than singles:
- A partner offers a sense of readily available support.
- A spouse holds a mate accountable, reminding him he shouldn’t eat unhealthy food, smoke or drink too much alcohol.
- Married people are less likely to engage in risky behavior.
Research also shows people take better care of themselves when someone else is invested in their emotional and physical well-being.