The study didn’t delve into the reasons why a diabetes diagnosis in one partner can lead to healthy behavior changes in the other. But Schmittdiel theorized that exposure to diabetes education, lifestyle changes and weight management has a “positive effect on the partner.”
Plus, she said, “the diagnosis of diabetes can be a real wake-up call for the partner, too.”
Dr. Gerald Bernstein is program coordinator for the Diabetes Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
“The data here is very important,” said Bernstein, who wasn’t involved with the study. “The differences are small, but real. These findings should be a wake-up call to incorporate family members into diabetes education and management when someone is diagnosed.”
Both experts agreed that by making healthy changes, partners without diabetes may head off their own diabetes diagnosis.