Spouses who are unfit and shun healthy lifestyles not only risk knocking years off their own lives, they make it more likely their partner will die early, too.
Now scientists suggest doctors should look further than a patient’s health and mental state and take the spouse’s well-being into account as well.
Dr Olga Stavrova, who was behind the research, said: “The data shows that spousal life satisfaction was associated with mortality, regardless of individuals’ socio-economic and demographic characteristics, or their health status.”
The study, by scientists at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, collected reports from about 4400 couples aged over 50 in the US for eight years. The couples were from diverse backgrounds, although some 99% were heterosexual.