Many of us recognize the importance of exercise and eating well, but a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests your relationships are just as important to your overall health.
The findings underscore the value of social ties to improving a person’s physical health, from the teenage years through the 90s and beyond. The researchers said educating and messaging around the importance of relationships can mitigate health risks, which aren’t manifested in diseases yet.
“Do have a good and healthy diet, and exercise; but also try to have a good social life and connections with other people,”the study’s first author Yang Claire Yang said. “Cultivate broad and somewhat deep, functional [relationships]. That’s as important, if not more — and don’t wait until you’re old.”
According to a story on LiveScience.com, “Teens in the study who said they felt integrated into their social circles were 48 percent less likely to be obese than those who were not socially integrated, the researchers found. And older adults who were socially integrated were 54 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who were not socially integrated.”
While the study claims social ties are critical to our health, it also indicates that stressful relationships can be detrimental and should be discarded from our lives. A CTV News story pointed out how age determines whether it is more beneficial to have a lot of friends or to focus on the quality of the friendships.
“The size of a person’s social network was particularly important for health in early and late adulthood, but in middle adulthood it was more quality than quantity, with the levels of support provided by social connections proving to be more beneficial to health than simply the number of connections.”
We believe in the importance of relationships, whether those relationships drive better health or drive the dialogue between our partners that is critical to helping us realize our vision making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation! Let us know what you think!