(HealthDay News) – When one person in a couple loses weight, the extent to which the partner embraces the changes in lifestyle influences post-weight-loss interaction, according to research published online Oct. 24 in Health Communication.

Lynsey Kluever Romo, PhD, of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, and René M. Dailey, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, asked 21 adult couples to fill out qualitative questionnaires and used systems theory to assess the effects of weight loss in one partner on interactions within the relationship.

The researchers found that loss of weight in one partner often resulted in positive interactions within the couple, such as sharing a healthy lifestyle. Some couples experienced negative effects, such as criticism by the partner directed at the one who lost weight. Whether or not the non-weight-loss partner adopted new rules and patterns for weight loss management had a substantial impact on communication and behavior within the relationship.

“People need to be aware that weight loss can change a relationship for better or worse, and that communication plays an important role in maintaining a healthy relationship,” Romo said in a statement.

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