A new research from McGill University Health Center (MUHC), published in the journal suggests that if a person has type 2 diabetes, their spouse has 26% increased risk of developing the condition.
The investigators came to this conclusion after analyzing six studies, conducted in different parts of the world, involving a total of 75,498 couples. This increased risk could be a result of “social clustering”.
This means that even though spouses are not biologically related, they live in the same environments, adopt the same social habits, follow similar eating patterns and carry out similar levels of exercise – all factors that can determine the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers say that although further research is needed to better understand the shared risk factor of diabetes between couples, their findings suggest that interventions that engage both partners in adopting healthier lifestyles may help to lower diabetes risk.
“This may be a platform to assist clinicians to develop strategies to involve both partners. Changing health behaviour is challenging and if you have the collaboration of your partner, it’s likely to be easier.” Dasgupta said. She added that if one partner is diagnosed with diabetes, the other still has a chance at reversing his or her trajectory. “If you’re at an elevated risk of developing the disease, a five per cent reduction in weight could be enough to reduce your chances by 60 per cent.”
I am proud to say that the senior author of this study, Dr Kaberi Dasgupta, four years ago, headed the pilot study of our Type 2 Diabetes Meal Plans within a group of patients of MUHC, prior to our releasing them to the general public. The results of that study were published in the JMIR Research Protocol.