Relationships more beneficial to women than men

Women in relationships have better overall health compared to their single counterparts; for men, their overall health is not influenced by their relationship status.


The research released for Valentine’s Day by the National Heart Foundation looked at clinical and lifestyle risk factors for developing heart disease such as smoking status, diet and weight, and blood pressure and cholesterol levels as a determinant to overall health.


The data is based on the Australian Heart Foundation’s HeartWatch 2015 survey conducted on 6,025 people (2,229 men, 3,096 women) aged 30-65 years surveyed between July-December 2015.


The analysis looked at people in a relationship (married and defacto) and not in a relationship (single, widowed, divorced and separated). 


The data found women in a relationship fared better in many of the key risk factors, with more women eating their fruit and veg, more in a healthy weight range, more having normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and less women smoking than their single counterparts. 



  • Have high blood pressure as a couple 27.6%, not a couple 29.4%.

  • Have high risk of having a heart attack as a couple 6.0%, not a couple 7.4%.

  • Overweight or obese as a couple 53.9%, not a couple 61.3%.

The results for men were mixed. While men in relationships eat better and smoke less, they are more likely to be overweight and have a higher risk of having a heart attack. 



  • Have high blood pressure as a couple 33.9%, not a couple 33.8%

  • Have high risk of having a heart attack as a couple11.1%, not a couple 9.7%

  • Overweight or obese as a couple 71.9%, not a couple 66.3%.

The Heart Foundation’s National CEO, Professor Garry Jennings said while heart disease doesn’t discriminate between the sexes or relationship status, these results show it is time for men to get their health into shape.


“If we look solely at couples, men aren’t as healthy as their female partners, with women healthier in almost every aspect. 


“It is bad news. The reality is that men are two times more likely to have been told by their doctor that they are at high risk of having heart attack than women,” said Prof. Jennings.


“Men need to start getting their act together if they’re to live a long and healthy life. 


“For those couples celebrating Valentine’s Day the best thing you can do is support and encourage your partner to prioritise their health over chocolates and flowers.”


14 February 2016.