Convincing your partner to join you in taking up exercise or quitting smoking is a sure way to increase your chances of succeeding at getting healthier.
Scientists at University College London looked at how likely people were to quit smoking, start being active or lose weight in relation to what their partner did.
They found 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% managed to quit if their partner gave up smoking at the same time compared with 17% whose partners were already non-smokers and 8% 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, get active or lose weight if their partner made the same behaviour change.
Unhealthy lifestyles are a leading cause of death from chronic disease. The main 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.
The results of the study are published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
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