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Social Health

September 8, 2017

Social well-being could be important to our long-term health.



A man builds social bonds with a young child. (Pexels/Public Domain)


Improving social fitness. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Having strong social connections is as important to health and longevity as is diet and exercise. This according to researchers writing in a special issue of American Psychologist. Brigham-Young psychologist Julianne Holt-Lunstad says friends and family reinforce healthy behaviors and help reduce bad ones. And social interaction also affects us biologically.

JULIANNE HOLT-LUNSTAD (Brigham-Young University):

Things like cardiovascular functioning, like blood pressure, also neuroendocrine functioning, immune functioning and even cellular aging.


She and her co-authors suggest the creation of guidelines so that people know where they are on the social spectrum, and encouraging doctors to consider patients’ social well-being along with nutrition and exercise. They say these measures could save billions in medical costs and help people live longer, healthier lives. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon