Reasons friends can improve your health as much as diet and exercise does

Relationships has similar effects on the health of people at every stage in life

Bestfriends

Research has shown that good and meaningful friendships can make a positive difference in the elderly but latest study has shown relationships has similar effects on the health of people at every stage in life.

The study was particularly true for teenagers and adults.

The latest study conducted by researchers  at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also says that people with good, supportive relationships are also healthier.

Medically, they tend to have lower blood pressure, smaller waist circumference and body mass index and lower levels of inflammation than those without positive social ties.

It was also gathered that the effect of relationships on health is so powerful that social isolation had a negative impact in young people compared to lack of exercise.

"We’re able to show for the first time how this link [between social relationships and health] happens, evolves and changes as individuals age,” a sociology professor, Yang Claire Yang of UNC Chapel Hill and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center 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", another senior study author Kathleen Mullan Harris, who is also a sociology professor at UNC Chapel Hill said.

Harris said she and her team used data from four large, long-term and nationally representative studies, encompassing a total of about 15,000 participants.

The research team identified associations between the number or quality of relationships and certain health markers, like BMI, waist circumference and inflammation risk.

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