London: Next time when you try to imitate the way your spouse eats, pause for a moment as a couple’s lifestyle choices can increase their chances of becoming obese regardless of their genetic profile, finds a study.
According to researchers, choices made by couples in middle age — including those linked to diet and exercise — have a much greater impact on them than the lifestyle each shared during their childhood.
“The environment you share with your partner in adulthood also influences whether you become obese and this is more important than your upbringing,” said lead researcher Chris Haley from the University of Edinburgh in Britain.
The findings, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, reinforce the message that lifestyle changes in adulthood can have a significant impact in tackling obesity.
The research helped scientists to better understand links between obesity, genetics and lifestyle habits.
The team analysed data provided by 20,000 people.
They compared people’s family genetics and home environments in childhood and adulthood and related these to measures linked to health and obesity.
A total of 16 measures were considered, including waist to hip ratio, blood pressure, body fat content and body mass index (BMI).
The information was gathered as part of the Generation Scotland project — a national resource of health data that helps researchers investigate genetic links to health conditions.
“The findings also show that even people who come from families with a history of obesity can reduce their risk by changing their lifestyle habits,” Haley added.