As Valentine’s Day approaches, a Cleveland Clinic survey finds that two-thirds of Americans (66%) in a committed relationship are concerned with their partner’s heart health. Moreover, 60% of Americans say they are more motivated to live a heart healthy lifestyle for their partners than for themselves. This is especially true for men – 67% compared to 52% for women.
The survey was conducted as part of Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute’s “Love your Heart” consumer education campaign in celebration of American Heart Month. It looked at how relationships affect heart health.
The survey found most Americans in committed relationships are looking to their partners for motivation. An overwhelming majority (83%) agreed that if their partner adopted a heart-healthy diet, they would join in, and 57% said they are more likely to exercise with their partner than by themselves.
“We know that strong emotions can affect the heart, if only temporarily. But, partners can make a long-term impact on each other’s heart health,” said Samir Kapadia, M.D., chairman of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic. “I recommend partners undertake heart healthy habits together. Make it fun but hold each other accountable – find new healthy recipes and cook them together, join an exercise class, or go on daily walks with your partner. Simple lifestyle changes can go a long way in keeping your heart strong and healthy.”
Alternatively, partners can be a negative influence.
About two-thirds (64%) of Americans in committed relationships acknowledge that they enable or are enabled by their partner in unhealthy heart habits. For example, far more couples said they were likely to binge watch a TV show with their partner (66%) than exercise together (46%).
Additional survey findings include:
- The majority of Americans (86%) believe that emotional heartbreak can result in physical pain, and seven-in-ten (71%) also believe it’s possible to die of a broken heart. Physicians say there is a “broken heart syndrome”, called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, which is a response to sudden emotional stress, but it is rare.
- Seven-in-ten (70%) Americans consider sex exercise, especially younger Americans under 55.
- Men in a committed relationship especially said that their partners were a positive influence on their heart health – 78% compared to 67% of women.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. Cleveland Clinic has been ranked the No. 1 hospital in the country for cardiology and cardiac surgery for 25 years in a row by US News & World Report.
Cleveland Clinic’s survey of the general population gathered insights into Americans’ perceptions of heart health and prevention. This was an online survey conducted among a national probability sample consisting of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older, living in the continental United States. The total sample data is nationally representative based on age, gender, ethnicity and educational attainment census data. The online survey was conducted by Dynata and completed between September 23 and September 26, 2018. The margin of error for the total sample at the 95% confidence level is +/- 3.1 percentage points.