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More friends may mean longer lifespan, research shows

Posted On Wed, July 28, 2010

In an age of computers and text messaging, the necessity of human interaction seems to be dwindling. New research, however, shows that having strong social relationships may be an essential component to a long life.

An article published in Public Library of Science Medicine reveals that having a small number of social relationships is just as detrimental to ones longevity as smoking, inactivity, and alcohol.

Researchers at Brigham Young University reviewed 148 studies that tracked mortality and social relationships and found that "people with stronger social relationships had a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival than those with weaker social relationships."

The study authors noted that such findings aren't so surprising when looking at previous research.

"To draw a parallel, many decades ago high mortality rates were observed among infants in custodial care (orphanages), even when controlling for pre-existing health conditions and medical treatment. Lack of human contact predicted mortality," the authors wrote.

In addition to forging strong relationships, people should consume a balanced diet and get regular exercise. Those in optimal condition tend to get better rates on health and life insurance policies.ADNFCR-2297-ID-19911359-ADNFCR

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