A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, discovered that the more friends you have, the healthier you’ll be. The study was based mostly on teenagers and young adults.
According to Kathleen Harris, from the University of North Carolina, parents should always encourage their children to be social and to make as many friends as possible. She said that this should be a priority, like a physical life and a healthy lifestyle .
The researchers used information from a previous study, which claimed that adults live longer if they have a lot of friends. The study discovered that the connection one has can influence its health in the early and in the late stages of adulthood as well.
During the teenage years, the social isolation increased the chances of inflammation as much as the lack of exercise would have.The teenagers who were more social and had friends had lower risks of developing abdominal obesity. The more teenagers are involved in the community or at school, the healthier they will be. Any club from football to chess could be good for their health.
In adulthood, the strong connections seemed to be more important than the number of friendships. During older ages, the people who were more isolated had higher risks of developing diabetes or hypertension.
According to Kathleen Harris, the life stages that are the most important are the beginning and the end. In these stages, the quantity is more important than the quality of the friendships. During middle adulthood the quality of the friendship is the most important.
Although having a lot of connections is important, what is more important is cutting out of your lives the relationships that bring more harm than good. When people have stressful relationships, their health is majorly endangered.
The study used data from four U.S. population surveys that covered the life duration of these persons from the teenage years to the old ones. The older people who felt connected to their community, friends and family experienced less hypertension and obesity than those who didn’t.
Harris believes that friendships should be considered a big factor regarding people’s health, and the fact that some diseases could be prevented and longer lifespan ensured is an important finding. Because of the finding that the more friends you have, the healthier you’ll be, people should be made aware of these benefits and new friendships and connections should be encouraged, no matter the age.
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