Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Friends, They Keep You In Check and Keep You Healthy

Girlfriends: Charity Shea, Denise Vasi and LisaRaye McCoy of "Single Ladies." Photo courtesy of VH1.

REGARDLESS of what else you neglect, do not neglect your friends.

Why? Because they keep you from doing all manner of stupid and harmful things such as making that call/sending that text, slashing those tires, breaking car windows. And spending money you can ill afford or spending your hard-earned coin on something truly awful.

Friends are there for your highest highs and your lowest lows. They tell you like it is when no one else will. Friends talk you off of ledges.

Further, friends should not be neglected because they are good for your health, according to An Empirical Analysis of the Association Between Social Interaction and Self-Rated Health. It is an article about a study published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Health Promotion, http://www.ajhpcontents.org/toc/hepr/27/4

Real Bromance: The "Entourage" of Adrian Grenier, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara. Photo from "Entourage" Facebook page.

What the study found is that respondents who self-reported good or excellent health also reported closer contacts with friends over memberships and social activities.

Previous studies about personal (friends, family, neighbors) connections as well as impersonal connections and social activities (organizations, unions, fraternities, sports, youth groups clubs, etc.) showed that all contributed to overall improved health.

However, this latest study, conducted by Swati Mukerjee, found that in both categories, friendship connections had the greatest impact on good health. Sports club membership is the lone organizational connection found to increase the likelihood of a report of good to excellent health.

Best girlfriends ever: Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Kim Cattrall of "Sex in the City." Photo from "Sex in the City" Facebook page.

“We all ‘know’ that friendships are ‘good for us,’ but there’s a gap between this accepted wisdom and researched fact, ” SM told the Health Behavior News Service at Bentley College. SM is an associate professor in Department of Economics at the university.

SM examined the role of personal and impersonal connections in the lives of people of different genders, ages, races and education. ”In most demographic groups, friendship turns out to be very important” for self-reported health status, she said.

What’s the takeaway? Keep your friends close, of course. Rx

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