Dieter’s Weight Loss May Have Ripple Effect on Partner

If you’re determined to shed excess pounds, your partner may end up losing a few, too, new research shows.

The six-month study involved 130 cohabitating couples in which one partner was actively trying to lose weight. In about one-third of cases (32 percent), the other partner also lost 3 percent or more of their body weight, the findings showed.

That’s enough to have a real benefit on the non-dieters’ health, the investigators said.

“This study was the first to demonstrate that lifestyle programs for weight loss have effects beyond the person participating in these programs,” said James Hill. He’s professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and a spokesman for The Obesity Society.

The study was funded by Weight Watchers, but the finding was the same whether the dieting partner was in that type of “guided” program or whether they attempted to lose weight all on their own, the study authors noted.

The researchers also found that couples’ weight loss was interlinked. If one partner lost weight at a steady rate, so did their partner; if one partner had trouble shedding pounds, so did their partner.

According to the study’s lead investigator, Amy Gorin, the bottom line is that “when one person changes their behavior, the people around them change.” Gorin is a professor of psychological sciences and a weight-loss expert at the University of Connecticut.

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SOURCES: James O. Hill, Ph.D., professor, departments of pediatrics and medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine and spokesman, The Obesity Society; Dina Hirsch, Ph.D., senior psychologist, Center for Weight Management, Northwell Health's Syosset Hospital, Syosset, N.Y.; Ashley Baumohl, R.D., nutritionist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; University of Connecticut, news release, Feb. 1, 2018

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