By Ingrid Fernandez, Staff Reporter
A group of Scientists from the University of North Carolina (UNC) have found out that people who lack a circle of friends are at higher risks of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Loneliness, the study says, “is as dangerous to health as a lack of physical inactivity in youth.”
Weak relationships can have the same consequences as lack of exercise during younger years, says the study.
The study is conclusive in encouraging people to develop a network of loved ones, since it found out that people who have friendships are less likely to develop health hazards and live longer.
The study says that a person’s social network is significantly important during the periods of early and late adulthood.
During mid-adulthood, it indicates that social support is not as important. During this phase of life, what is important is the quality and not the quantity of friendships.
Having good relationships at the young stage of life reduces the chances of developing hypertension by 54 percent. In adolescence, having a social network reduces the chances of obesity; whilst in older years, loneliness can increase the risk of hypertension more than any other clinical disease. Having a good social circle disintegrates the behavioral and psychological habits that might lead to cancer, the study found.
Dr. Kathleen Mullan Harris from UNC suggests that although it is important to encourage young people and adults to exercise and eat healthy, it is also important to equip them with social skills to build good relationships.