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Study: If your wife is obese, you may be at higher risk for diabetes

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If your wife is a little bit on the heavier side, take heed. A woman's weight may increase her husband's chances of being diagnosed with diabetes, according to a new report.

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Researchers from universities in Denmark conducted a study to determine the relationship between spousal diabetes and obesity within the elderly population.

To do so, they examined about 3,500 couples from the United Kingdom over the age of 50 and tracked their weight and health every two years over the course of a 17-year period. They also factored in age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

After analyzing the data, they found that men had a 21 percent higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for every additional five points their wives increased on the body mass index scale.

In additional research, they discovered that individuals over age 55 living with a spouse with Type 2 diabetes were more likely to be obese than those with no spouse with diabetes.

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"This is the first study investigating the sex-specific effect of spousal obesity on diabetes risk. Having an obese wife increases a man's risk of diabetes over and above the effect of his own obesity level," researchers said in a press release.

On the contrary, they noted obese hubbies did not have an effect on their wives chance of getting the disease. While they don’t understand why the same isn’t true in reverse, they believe discovering obesity in one spouse should result in a screening for diabetes for the other.

“Recognizing shared risk between spouses,” the authors said, “may improve diabetes detection and motivate couples to increase collaborative efforts to eat more healthily and boost their activity levels.”

They presented their findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting in Portugal this week.

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