Millions of Brits are putting their own wellbeing at risk because they worry too much about the health of their partners, new research has found.
In fact, three in four of the 2,000 adults surveyed for the Bupa Health Clinics poll said they worry about their partner’s physical health, while one in three admitted to regularly (yet unsuccessfully) pleading with their partner to make lifestyle changes that will improve their health.
Over a third (37%) of respondents said they even set their partners New Year’s resolutions that are designed to improve their health, rather than making commitments to getting healthier themselves. Interestingly, it is men who are more likely to do this, with 44% admitting to setting health resolutions for their other halves, compared to 30% of women.
Healthier eating (44%), weight loss (43%) and exercise (36%) were the most common resolutions set for a partner, while a quarter will be trying to encourage their other half to reduce their stress levels, and 15% will be asking them to improve their work-life balance.
Almost two in three adults surveyed admit they actually put their partner’s health ahead of their own all year round, with the average Brit worrying about their partner’s wellbeing more than twice a week, and three in 10 sitting down to discuss health concerns on a weekly basis.
Reasons given for worrying about the health of their partner more than their own include the belief that they are healthy and so don’t need to be concerned, and that they’ll address any symptoms they experience if and when they become an issue.
Many Make ‘Tactical Choices’ to Help Their Partners
The survey also found nearly two-thirds of adults make so-called tactical choices to help improve the health of their partners. For example, some of the survey respondents said they had swapped food for healthier alternatives, put less sugar in hot drinks and hid treats. Some of the adults quizzed even said they had been going to bed earlier in an attempt to encourage their partners to do the same and get more sleep as a result.
One respondent even resorted to measuring out their partner’s daily sugar intake and putting it in a jar to try and shock them.
Dr Petra Simic, clinical director at Bupa Health Clinics, said the research highlights how people put more focus on their loved ones’ health, often at the cost of their own.
“’It’s wonderful to see what a caring nation we are, but it’s important to understand that looking after ourselves actually gives us the ability to look after others, and is just as important,” she said.
She added that, in some cases, visiting a professional can help to motivate people to make healthier choices.
“Both parties taking their concerns to their GP or getting a health assessment will not only stop that persistent worrying, but you’ll both come away with key things to focus on,” she said.
Plenty of food for thought here. Do we need to start caring more about ourselves?
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