By Randy Dotinga
FRIDAY, Sept. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Spouses may be good for more than just love and companionship: A new study suggests married people with type 2 diabetes are less likely to be overweight than single people with the blood sugar disease.
The researchers found that diabetic men who lived with their spouses were also less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, a combination of related factors including high blood pressure and high blood sugar that boost the risk of heart disease and stroke.
For the study, Japanese researchers examined the medical records of 270 patients with type 2 diabetes from 2010 to 2016. The group included 180 married patients (109 men, 71 women) who were living with their spouses, and 90 single patients (46 men and 44 women).
The married people had a lower average body mass index (24.5) than the single people (26.5). The index is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight.
Compared with singles, married people also had lower levels of HbA1c, a measurement of blood sugar control (7.3 percent versus 7 percent, respectively); a lower number is better. In addition, married people had lower rates of metabolic syndrome (54 percent) compared with single people (68 percent), the findings showed.
After adjusting the statistics to compensate for factors such as the ages and genders of the study participants, the researchers found that the married people were 50 percent less likely to be overweight. The difference between the genders wasn't considered big enough to be significant.
For married men, the risk of metabolic syndrome was 58 percent lower than for single men. But the researchers didn't find evidence of a connection between marital status and metabolic syndrome in women.
The study was conducted by Dr. Yoshinobu Kondo and colleagues at Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine and Chigasaki Municipal Hospital. The findings were presented Thursday at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting in Munich, Germany.
Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.