Couple up to quit bad habits, say scientists

Couple jogging in park in autumn

As the third week of January begins, no doubt many a well-intentioned New Year's resolution will already have failed. But science may have the answer - don't go it alone.

According to a study by scientists at University College London (UCL), you're far more likely to swap bad habits for healthier alternatives if your partner joins you on the journey, whether it's slimming, getting fit or quitting smoking.

The research involved more than 3,500 couples, all of whom were over the age of 50 and either married or cohabiting.

Among women who smoked, 50 per cent were able to quit if their other half gave up at the same time, compared with 17 per cent of women whose partner was a non-smoker, and only eight per cent of those whose partners continued to smoke.

And pairing up to quit smoking, get active or lose weight was an equally effective tool for the male participants, who were also better able to stick to a new and healthier lifestyle if their partner did the same.

Dr Sarah Jackson, whose study was published in the journal Internal Medicine, said: "Now is the time to make New Year's resolutions to quit smoking, take exercise, or lose weight. And doing it with your partner increases your risk of success."

So if at first you did not succeed this January, try, try again... just be sure to rope in a friend, partner or family member this time.

Did you manage to make healthy lifestyle changes with the help of a friend or partner? Leave your comments below...
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