We learned via an article by EverydayHealth that a recent study has found that “social ties are as important to your long-term health as exercise and healthy eating.”
The article stated that the study “analyzed data from four surveys of Americans who ranged from adolescents to seniors. First, they looked at social integration, social support and social strain.” Researchers evaluated their blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and systemic inflammation, all of which are linked to heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
They discovered that the more social ties and relationships a person has at a young age, the better their heath is during their early and late life.
EverydayHealth stated that the study co-author Kathleen Mullan Harris, a professor at UNC, said, "Based on these findings, it should be as important to encourage adolescents and young adults to build broad social relationships and social skills for interacting with others as it is to eat healthy and be physically active.”
Therefore, this study shows that having strong social bonds can reduce major health risks in our lives. In teens, having a strong social network can protect against obesity. In seniors, the study authors said that feeling isolated can be more threatening than developing diabetes. However, it is not the amount of social bonds you have that matters, rather the quality.
According to the article, “the study showed an association between strong social ties and better health, it didn't establish cause-and-effect.”
Looking for ways to create more meaningful social bonds with others? Stop by The Well and meet other community members during our classes and support groups. We have a wide variety of classes from community yoga to financial empowerment and a new moms support group.
Visit Community Well this year and take a class that fits your health and wellness needs and create quality friendships with neighbors in the Excelsior community!