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Lack of social life may increase need for private medical cover

Published on 29/07/2010
Those who lack social interaction may have a greater need for private medical cover as they are more likely to suffer from bad health.

A new study has found that people who enjoy a good social life with friends and family have a 50 per cent better chance of survival.

Conversely, having few friends is as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, being an alcoholic, doing no exercise - and can even be twice as bad as being obese, the researchers found.

A team from the Department of Psychology at Brigham Young University in the US analysed data from 148 existing studies measuring the frequency of human interaction and tracked health outcomes for an average period of seven and a half years.

Their results, published in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, revealed that those with the strongest social networks were 1.5 times as likely to be alive at any given age than those without close friends or family.

Researcher Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad said: "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."

Recent in-house research by Facebook revealed that the average user has 120 friends on the social networking site.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  Health
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