PROVO, Utah, July 28 (UPI) — Not having adequate social relationships can be as bad for health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, being an alcoholic or not exercising, U.S. researchers say.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and colleagues analyzed data from 148 studies involving 308,849 individuals who were tracked for an average of 7.5 years.
The study, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, finds lack of social connections — friends, family, neighbors or colleagues — can be as harmful as not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity.
“When someone is connected to a group and feels responsibility for other people, that sense of purpose and meaning translates to taking better care of themselves and taking fewer risks,” Holt-Lunstad says in a statement.
“This effect is not isolated to older adults — relationships provide a level of protection across all ages.”
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.