There is little research on overall cardiovascular (CV) health among couples. Our aim was to examine concordance levels for CV health among couples, using the American Heart Association ideal health metrics, and to investigate if the CV health of an individual is associated with that of his or her partner.
There is a positive association between the overall cardiovascular health of an individual and that of his/her partner.
The Mitchelstown Study is a community-based cohort study of middle-aged Irish adults. Potential couples were identified as 2 study participants living at the same address. This list was cross-referenced with self-reported marital status and telephone number in the electronic patient record. Information on CV health metrics (smoking, body mass index, physical activity, diet, blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose) was collected using standardized methods. Participants were categorized as ideal, intermediate, or poor for each of the metrics and for overall CV health. The 0- to 14-point CV health metrics score was compared within couples using linear regression.
Of 2047 participants, 191 potential couples were identified. We excluded 6 sibling pairs, 1 divorced couple, and 3 couples who self-reported being single. The analysis includes 181 couples. There were significant associations between partners for smoking, diet, blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose (P < 0.05). No couple had ideal CV health (ie, both partners with 7 ideal metrics). Most couples (n = 127, 69%) were concordant for poor CV health. There was a significant relationship between partners for the CV health metrics score (P < 0.05).
Our results suggest an individual's CV health is associated with that of his or her partner. Therefore, prevention strategies targeting couples and families may be appropriate.