Social Connections are Equal to Diet and Exercise

By: Sarah King

Recent research has proven that social connections are just as important as diet and exercise in living long and productive lives. In this study, researchers examined the correlation between social ties and physical well-being of over 14,000 participants in various stages of life. Social connections were measured in terms of size, variety, level of support, and level of strain/difficulty. Researchers then examined participants’ blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference, and c-reactive protein levels (measure of inflammation) to monitor any changes that were directly due to resulting stress from poor social ties.


The results:

  • Socially isolated adolescents face the same risk for inflammation as those who do not exercise.
  • Older adults are more likely to develop hypertension from social isolation than from diabetes.
  • Social strain increases abdominal obesity and inflammation in early to mid-adulthood.
  • Social strain increases the risk of generalized obesity for older individuals.
  • Eating well, exercising regularly, and maintaining healthy and positive social connections are keys to disease prevention and living long and well.



Izadi, E. (2016, January 05). Your relationships are just as important to your health as diet and exercise. Retrieved from

Yang, Y. C., Boen, C., Gerken, K., Li, T., Schorpp, K., & Harris, K. M. (2016). Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,113(3), 578-583. doi:10.1073/pnas.1511085112.