You already know that your relationship can affect your health. And now, new research says your relationship is linked to your bone health, too.
The study, published online in the journal Osteoporosis International, looked at the marital history and self-reported spousal support of 632 adults, then compared that data with the participantsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD), which is an indication of bone strength. After analyzing the data, researchers found that guys who had never gotten married or were divorced, widowed, or separated had significantly lower BMD at the lumbar spine than first-time married men. (Interestingly, the guys who got married before age 25 had weaker bones than the ones who tied the knot at an older age.)
For women, there was no significant link between being married and BMDÃ¢â‚¬”but there was a correlation between their bone health and marriage quality. Since the study also looked at spousal supportÃ¢â‚¬”for example, whether or not the participants felt like their spouses cared about them, understood them, and appreciated themÃ¢â‚¬”they observed that higher measures of this had a significantly positive association with bone strength for women (but not for men).
The researchers point out that their study only shows a correlation, not causationÃ¢â‚¬”but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already been speculated (prior to this research) that stressors over the course of your life may affect your bone health. So it makes sense that consistent/supportive marriages may help protect bone health.
Fun fact: Happy coupledom has also been linked to having a positive body image. So this is just another reason to work on staying close with your partner.
MORE: The Secret Key to a Better Relationship