TIME Research

Study: Marriage is Good For The Heart

The study found that married people had a five-percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to single people. The project at NYU's Lagone Medical Center is the largest study to ever look at the link between marriage and heart health

Lovelorn singles, that ache in your heart will subside once you get married. Sort of.

A study of 3.5 million American adults has found that married people have lower odds of cardiovascular disease than those who are single, divorced or widowed.

“Our survey results clearly show that when it comes to cardiovascular disease, marital status really does matter,” Dr. Carlos Alviar, who led the study at New York University’s Lagone Medical Center, told the Associated Press. He called it the largest study to ever look at the link between marriage and heart health.

“A spouse can help keep doctor’s appointments and provide transportation, making for easier access to health care services,” Dr. Jeffrey Berger, another senior member of the project, says in an infographic laying out the study’s findings.

The study found that married people had a five-percent lower risk of any cardiovascular disease compared to single people, that widowed people had a three-percent greater risk, and divorced people a five-percent greater risk. Those numbers improved significantly for younger married couples, as those under age 50 had a 12-percent lower chance of heart disease than other young single people.

The study also found that smoking, a major cause of heart disease, was highest among divorced people and lowest in widowed ones. Obesity was most common in those single and divorced, and widowed people suffered from the highest rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and inadequate exercise.

The study was conducted from 2003 through 2008 at more than 20,000 screening sites in all 50 states. The average age was 64 years, and 63% of the participants were women. Almost 90% were white.

The study will be presented March 29 in Washington, D.C., at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology.

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