diabesityNew research published at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Munich, shows that when a patient with type 2 diabetes lives with their spouse, their risk of being overweight halves compared with those patients with type 2 diabetes who are single.

Among patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), overweight status increases insulin resistance and further worsens blood sugar control, and metabolic syndrome increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to manage body weight in patients with T2D. Several studies have revealed that living with one’s spouse improves blood sugar control, although the effects of living with one’s spouse on overweight status and metabolic syndrome are unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the effects of living with one’s spouse on overweight status and metabolic syndrome among patients with T2D.
The authors performed a cross-sectional study of patients with T2D (June 2010 to March 2016), and assessed marital status and metabolic syndrome-related information using a medical chart review. The participants’ body mass indexes (BMI) and body fat masses were assessed using a bioelectrical analyser. Statistical analyses were then performed to determine the association of marital status with overweight status (a BMI of 25.0 kg/m2 or more) and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome was diagnosed according to International Diabetes Federation worldwide definition.
After screening, 270 consecutive patients with T2D were reviewed, who included 180 married patients who were living with their spouse (67%, male n = 109, female n = 71) and 90 single patients (33%, male n = 46, female n = 44). Compared to the single group, the married group exhibited a significantly lower BMI (mean 24.5 vs. 26.5, respectively), lower HbA1c levels (7.0 vs. 7.3%), a lower body fat mass (18.9 kg vs. 23.5 kg), and a lower rate of metabolic syndrome (54% vs. 68%).
Further analysis of the data showed that, after adjusting for age, sex, diabetes duration, beta-cell function (as assessed using the C-peptide index), insulin use, and exercise habit, the married group were 50% less likely to be overweight, but with no statistically significant difference between the sexes. Among men, living with one’s spouse reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome by 58%, although no significant risk reduction was observed among women who lived with their spouse.
The authors conclude: “Our findings show that being married and living with one’s spouse reduced the risk of being overweight by approximately 50% among patients with T2D. Men who were married and lived with their spouse also exhibited a risk reduction of 58% for metabolic syndrome. In contrast, being single was a risk factor for overweight status and metabolic syndrome, especially among male patients. These findings suggest that social supportive care is needed to help single patients with T2D manage their body weight.”