Habits come in pairs: the influence of spouses on our state of health
Being in a relationship is a decision, not only a commitment and responsibility, but also one that will affect our health in the long run, as demonstrated in a study recently published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).
This study proves that healthy behaviors, risky behaviors, and risk factors for cardiovascular disease are common in both spouses. In other words, if a person is at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, it is very likely that the partner they live with also shares these risks. The good news is that this possibility also works positively: If a spouse exhibits behaviors that favor health care, it is very likely that one way or another, their partner will also adopt one of these habits almost implicitly.
Although this is a medical finding, sociology and anthropology have long known that coexistence, especially if a married couple is romantically involved, involves a series of changes and adaptations. In some cases, they can lead to real crises due to the conflict of different customs, but in other cases, customs are “imitation” as an adaptation to obtain a better coexistence, or simply because life as a couple forms on many occasions the strongest types of social bonds, but also the most Difficulty maintaining it.
A coexistence represents a rite of passage in which the habits of food, hygiene, rest, entertainment and even silence are modified depending on how the dynamics of the coexistence are implemented. One of the habits in which there are the biggest differences, but also the best adaptations, is in the matter of food, especially when one of the spouses is involved in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is known from some studies that a person can refuse to accept these modifications, in the long run if these habits are typical of their partner, they will end up affecting them in a positive way. When one spouse gets used to being physically active, it is very likely that the other person will do so at some point.
It is also known that when a person suffers from an illness that requires lifestyle changes, adherence to treatment depends largely on the family environment and the support provided to the person to follow certain guidelines in their health care. But this does not mean that the other is the main culprit or responsible for the health of your partner or spouse. It simply means that this person is an influence in building daily habits based on what is being shared inside the home.
All these results prove once again that diet is a complete social fact and that diseases, in addition to all their pathophysiological components, also have very important social components that cannot be ignored. Moreover, in the specific case of the aforementioned study, this undoubtedly represents an important finding in the way in which patients with cardiovascular disease should be dealt with, particularly those who coexist with the patient.
Food and Society Column
Point and how
Food and Society Column. Gastronaut, Committed and Foodie. She is a researcher in the sociology of food and a nutritionist. She is the President of the Funalid: Foundation for Food and Development.