Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences


Background. Including spouses in obesity treatment has been found to promote weight loss. We assessed whether spouses’ diet and activity changes impacted each other’s weight loss when both members attended an active weight loss program (TOGETHER) or only the primary participant attended treatment (ALONE).

Methods. Heterosexual couples (𝑁 = 132) enrolled in an 18-month randomized controlledweight loss trialwereweighed and completedmeasures of dietary intake and physical activity at baseline and 6 months. We conducted dyadic data analyses using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model.

Results. Participants’ weight loss was not predicted by their partners’ behavior changes.However, partners’ weight loss was predicted by their participants’ changes in calorie and fat intake.When partners were coupled with a participant who did not reduce their own calorie and fat intake asmuch, these partners had higher weight loss when treated in the TOGETHER group but lower weight loss when they were untreated in the ALONE group. There were no reciprocal effects found with physical activity changes.

Conclusions. Direct treatment had the greatest impact on participants and partners who were treated. Untreated partners’ weight losses were positively impacted by their spouses’ dietary changes, suggesting a ripple effect from treated spouses to their untreated partners.


Originally Published in : Journal of Obesity.

J Obes. 2013;2013:297268. doi: 10.1155/2013/297268. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Copyright © 2013 Anna E. Schierberl Scherr et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.