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Health over wealth

Posted in: Wellbeing Last updated: 15 Dec 2010

Almost eight in 10 women are worried about their partner’s unhealthy lifestyle, it was revealed yesterday.

Pressures of work; lack of exercise; and eating junk food are the chief culprits, according to women.  They time their partner’s health decline as just over five years into their relationship, on average.

The figures emerged in a study of 3,000 women by Engage Mutual and revealed that 37 per cent of them worry that their other half is overweight.

While 31 per cent of women are concerned their partner doesn’t do enough exercise, the most frequent factor highlighted in relation to a partner’s unhealthy lifestyle is work.

Nearly a third of women who expressed their concerns highlighted very long working hours and stress around work as key factors in their partners’ unhealthy lifestyles.  One in ten says that bringing work home has a negative effect on their partner’s health.

A spokesman for Engage Mutual said:

“From exercise to work life balance, the majority of women we surveyed had concerns around a partner’s lifestyle.

“By far and away, work pressures were seen as the biggest issue.  Maintaining work life balance is particularly challenging in the current economic climate where many are concerned about their jobs and prospects and feel under significant additional pressure.”

Other contributors to bad health highlighted by the survey included eating junk food (26 per cent), bad sleeping habits (23 per cent), skipping meals (19 per cent) and drinking too much (19 per cent).

And a fifth of women say their partners have become ‘couch potatoes’.

Refusing to visit a doctor when ill; and ignoring previous or hereditary health problems are also issues women raise in relation to their partners’ unhealthy attitudes.

But despite their concerns, 31 per cent haven’t yet mentioned to their partner that they think they are unhealthy.

Instead 42 per cent of those surveyed say they have made healthy changes to their partner’s lifestyle without them realising it.

Six in 10 of these women started buying low fat healthy foods, and 64 per cent no longer buy unhealthy snacks and treats for the house.

Just under a fifth pack less lunch for their partner when he goes to work, and 15 per cent now count the calories and fat in all of his meals.

Eight per cent have even booked their partner into sporting activities such as squash, running or tennis.

While 20 per cent believe an unhealthy approach to life has meant their partner is less attractive, 36 per cent believe it directly affects the family’s lifestyle.

Indeed, of these women, 40 per cent say lack of exercise, poor diet and frequently feeling under the weather means their husband rarely has enough energy to run round with the children.

Just over half of wives say their partner doesn’t spend enough quality time with the family, and 64 per cent blame his short temper for a bad atmosphere in the house.

A majority of women (93 per cent) say they would prefer a partner who earned an average wage but spent time looking after their health, over a high earner whose health suffered.

The Engage Mutual spokesman continues:

“It is significant that, despite the hard times that many are experiencing and worrying about, 93 per cent of women we surveyed prioritise the health of their partner above wealth.

“With more than a third identifying the impact of an unhealthy partner on the family, and a similar number highlighting work as a major factor in their partner’s unhealthy lifestyle, the message seems to be, ‘try and strike a balance’.”

Top 10 concerns about partner’s health

  • Feels very stressed and under pressure in his job
  • Works very long hours
  • Rarely exercises
  • Eats junk food
  • Bad sleeping habits
  • Refuses to visit the doctor when ill
  • Has become a couch potato
  • Skips meals because he is too busy
  • Drinks too much alcohol
  • Has a very short temper