People with strong social connections may live longer and healthier lives, according to numerous studies.
For example, research about an unusually long-living population on the island of Sardinia, Italy has showed that strong ties to family and friends, along with frequent physical activity, may contribute to their longevity, according to a May 9, 2019 CNN article.
The CNN article also mentioned a recent review of 148 studies that found that people who are isolated face a 50% greater risk of premature death than those who have stronger social connections.
Lisa Berkman, director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, cited other studies that have suggested that social isolation carries a risk of mortality that’s similar to that of other major risk factors, such as smoking.
Berkman said that the stress of isolation can weaken people’s immune systems, making them more susceptible to infectious diseases. She also noted that people with strong social connections tend to have better health behaviors, like eating healthy foods and being physically active.
Read the CNN article: Friends and family may help Italians live healthier and longer