News Picture: AHA News: For Better or For Worse, a Couple

For better or for worse, a couple's heart health may overlap

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TUESDAY, November 26, 2019 (U.S. Heart Association News) – Tom and Martta Kelly don't need a study to show them how couples affect each other's health.

Having been married for 11 years, West Orange, New Jersey, the couple met at a running club. Most weekends, they go out racing. Both are competing, but when they practice, they are in a few steps of each other. "I will push Martta, she will push me," said Tom, 78. "For the most part, we stand side by side."

Martta, 62, said their common interests far exceeded activity. "We feed each other," she said. "We try to make good choices."

A new study provides an insight into the degree of similarity among married partners when it comes to their heart health, in hopes of finding ways to lead more people like Kellys.

The researchers tested five years of biometrics and blood test data from 5,364 couples. The researchers then charted how each partner measured seven changeable risk factors for heart disease (smoking, exercise, diet, body mass index). , blood pressure, total cholesterol and fasting blood sugar) and for general cardiovascular health.

In 76% of couples, if one partner has less than ideal cardiovascular health, so does the other. For 92% of couples, both do not eat a healthy diet and more than half of couples do not exercise enough.

Smoking is the only category that most couples are in good health: Of the 88% of couples, …



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