Peiyi Lu shared that even though hypertension is more common in the Western countries selected for this study, concordant high blood pressure prevalence was stronger in Asia (via American Heart Association). This may have to do with the different cultures and resulting approaches to partnerships in both regions — individualism in the West versus closer ties in Asian countries.
“In China and India, there’s a strong belief in sticking together as a family, so couples might influence each other’s health more. In collectivist societies in China and India, couples are expected to depend and support each other, emotionally and instrumentally, so health may be more closely entwined,” explained Lu.
Associate professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health at West Virginia University Bethany Barone Gibbs said that studies of this nature underscore the important nature of our significant other’s influence over our lifestyle habits such as eating healthy, exercising, and reducing stress (via American Heart Association). For better or for worse, right? They also highlight the need for a wider approach in healthcare that takes into account a person’s interpersonal relationships as a determining factor for medical conditions like hypertension, she added. Does this mean you have permission to nag when your relationship might be sabotaging your health? Maybe.