If you’re a married woman hoping to live for a long time, don’t get divorced — so says a new study about the seemingly wonderful health benefits of marriage.
If you think this finding sounds familiar, you’re right. A myriad of research has come out over the years claiming marriage can do all sorts of great things for your health such as increase longevity, lower your risk of heart attack and even lower alcohol consumption.
So what makes this study any different? In this case researchers wanted to specifically analyze the impact of marriage on cardiovascular disease and its associated risk factors — which can greatly lower your life span — to see if past findings held up when looked at on a global scale.
To accomplish this feat, Roberto Manfredini — a professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Ferrara in Italy — and colleagues pored over data from 35 studies conducted over the past several years which included 1.2 million subjects.
After all was said and done, the global study — published in the Journal of Women’s Health — concluded that being married is in fact “associated with lower risk factors and better health status.” Huzzah!
On the flip side, researchers found evidence linking separation, divorce, being widowed or staying single to poor health issues, including early death. More specifically the mortality rate for people not married was higher than that for people in married couples and the rate for those who have never married being significantly higher still.
But the researchers also dug deeper to find out why marriage had such positive effect on mortality rate and more specifically cardiovascular health. Here’s what they found.
Hypertension: A healthier blood pressure pattern was found in married people. Single or divorced people “had greater odds of being unaware of uncontrolled blood pressure levels than married subjects,” write the researchers.
Dietary habits: Single women had lower consumption of vegetables and fish compared with married women, based on a study out of Hong Kong. The researchers also found that “Men living without a partner had lower odds of undergoing health screening and having regular breakfast, whereas women living without a partner had higher risk of smoking and alcohol consumption.”
Physical fitness: In a sample of subjects, married women and married men reported higher levels of physical activity than singles. The caveat however is that during the transition to marriage (i.e. going from single to married, or divorced to remarried) physical activity took a slight dip.
Regular health checks: Research subjects living with partners were more likely to have healthier behavior than living without a partner, especially undergoing health screenings. Not only that, a study of more than 120,000 US subjects found married individuals were simply healthier in general than their non-married counterparts. And this effect was the strongest in adults aged 18–44 years.
But the one negative health indicator for which married adults had a higher prevalence was being overweight or obese, especially married men. Never married adults were among the least likely to be overweight or obese.
Hospital admission rates provided especially fascinating data showing that on average 40 percent of unmarried people were admitted with moderate or severe conditions as opposed to 32 percent for marrieds.
Cardiac arrest, for example, was more common in single people than married by 30 percent to 21 percent. Survival rates were also higher for married people.
The results were found from studies made of men and women aged from 18 to 65 in the United States, China, Japan, parts of the Middle East and six European countries; Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Researchers based the health and marriage study on data collected on adults around the world having looked at the frequency in married and single people of health issues like heart disease, hypertension, obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption. They also examined mortality rates and exercise level. To do this they examined case reports, controlled trials, articles and other studies.
The study concludes that the main factors related to better health for married people include, “healthier meals, better sleep, less stress, financial benefits and better mood.” In general single men fared the worst when it came to health.
It seems to us based on this research that having a spouse to look out for you and care for you is not only an ideal but also essential for a long life. So, if you want to stay healthy, put a ring on it!
Send this to friend