Your relationships and diet are just as important as exercise

Want to be healthy? Hit the gym. Eat nutritious food. And… Hang out

According to a study published Monday in the proceedings of the national academy of sciences, the depth and breadth of your social relationships will affect your health, just like eating and exercising.

Researchers at the university of north Carolina at chapel hill found that scale and quality of a person’s social relationship will affect their life in different periods of specific health measures, such as abdominal obesity and hypertension.

For example, adolescents with social isolation face the same developmental risk of inflammation as those who do not. Older people are more likely to have high blood pressure than social isolators, not diabetes. Higher social pressures slightly increased the risk of abdominal obesity and inflammation in early adulthood to mid-range, and increased overall risk of obesity in slightly older populations.

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Loneliness can affect a large number of studies have shown that the elderly live longer, a strong social life helps to improve overall health, but “we don’t know, how social relations get skin”, the study’s lead author, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) north Carolina population center, professor Yang Claire Yang (Yang, Claire Yang).

Four times the researchers conducted a large-scale longitudinal survey, a total of more than 14000 participants involved in different life stage, and capture the essence of a social life, and then their physical health.

The size and diversity of social relationships – social integration – are captured by factors such as the number of friends, marital status, religious beliefs and participation in the community. The quality of social relationships – social support and pressure – is measured by questions such as whether friends and relatives are criticized, supported, loved, debated, and hated.

The researchers then looked at whether the quality and quantity of social relationships were correlated with four specific health indicators: blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference and specific proteins that measure inflammation.

Kathleen Mullan Harris, professor and professor of UNC at the north Carolina population center, said: “these markers are a physiological effect of stress – daily stress, rather than a good sign of acute stress. “The theory is that social relationships can mitigate some of the effects of stress, and/or help with coping.”

Surprisingly, having a large social network is more important than building high-quality relationships between teenagers and older people – both ends of the spectrum of life. But in the middle of adulthood, from the mid-30s to the fifties, the quality of the relationship is more important.

Harris was surprised at the discovery from the start and started clicking, she said. At this stage of life, people may have children and older parents, and their demands mean that they naturally involve a lot of social fields.

“More importantly, these bonds mean your life,” Harris said. “Do they provide support or tension? It’s important for your health.”

These findings highlight the value of social relationships in improving people’s physical health from adolescence to the 1990s. Researchers say education and messaging around the importance of relationships can reduce the health risks that are not yet present in the disease.


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