Get Connected: As Important as Eating Well, Not Smoking, Exercising, and Not Being an Alcoholic

A new Brigham Young study has demonstrated that being socially connected may provide significant protection against early death.

Researchers reviewed the findings from 148 previously published studies (called a “Meta-Analysis”) and discovered that how important regular social interaction is. For example, here is how being socially isolated negatively compares to other well-known health risks:

  • Equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day
  • Equivalent to being an alcoholic
  • More harmful than not exercising
  • Twice as harmful as obesity

Although the researchers did not address this factor specifically, it remains to be seen if social interaction through the web confers the same or similar degree of health protection as non-virtual interactions. Have you taken your Facebook supplement today?

I remember years ago during the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong, researchers looked into which senior citizens might be more susceptible to infection by what was then thought to be a variation of the common corona virus.

Previous studies had clearly demonstrated that senior citizens who were socially isolated suffered a greater number of corona virus infections each season than their more sociable cohorts.

Although we still do not know exactly why social interaction offers such benefits, it is clear that isolation increases the likelihood of greater illness and early death.

Perhaps, it has something to do with making sure your friends and family members are taking care of themselves, eating well, taking their supplements…or perhaps it has something to do with a gentle touch and a warm embrace.