Your better half can help or hinder process of diet control

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London, Mar 27 (UNI) Those trying to make a change in diet are generally motivated by their better halves but sometimes they can respond in a negative way as well, new research states.

The study to be published in the Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behaviour looked at the way partners responded when the other half attempted to make a dietary change for health reasons.

''For most pairs, the significant others' emotional and behavioural responses to the dietary change appeared to reflect the general dynamics of the relationship,'' lead researcher Judy Paisley said.

By examining the perspectives of significant others, we hoped to deepen understanding of the social nature of dietary change, he added.

The partners' emotional responses varied from co-operation and encouragement to skepticism and anger. While in most cases people supported their partners and facilitated the change by joining in the new diet or by changing their shopping or cooking habits, others helped by monitoring the dietary change, finding and sharing information or providing motivation.

Such couples were supportive and often saw their direct participation in the change as a natural extension of their relationship, the study suggested.

In a few cases, however, the significant other did not provide any support making the person trying to make a change feel their partner had a negative impact on their efforts -- for example, by eating 'forbidden' foods in front of them.

The study would aid in developing ways of promoting dietary modifications as a shared activity.

Indirect indications of support like not complaining about dietary changes is less meaningful to changers than direct support offered through positive reinforcement and encouragement, the researchers said.

UNI XC SYU RS1730

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