CLEVELAND - At last, health advice that's easy to follow: Nurture your relationships and you'll live longer.
Having good social relationships with family and friends may be just as important to your health as not smoking and controlling your weight.
In the study of more than 300,000 people, published in the Public Library of Science , those with close social ties were 50 percent less likely to die early than people who didn't enjoy those relationships.
MetroHealth Medical Center's James W. Campbell, M.D. was not at all surprised by the conclusions of the meta analysis.
He said he regularly counsels patients in his geriatrics and family medicine practice about the importance of interacting with people, but that more physicians should keep that in mind with their older patients, especially.
Alfred Dillon, 77, and Phyllis McIntosh, 75, are a prime example of what a good social relationship can do for one's health. Dillon lost his wife of 35 years, and McIntosh had lost her life partner of 27 years when they first started dating.
"I wasn't doing anything. I wasn't getting out. I was lonely," she said.
Since they started spending time together, McIntosh said she's always laughing and Dillon said he's adopted a much healthier lifestyle.
"We gotta great life together," he said.
Dr. Campbell said, in general, women tend to be better at maintaining social circles, but that men tend to do well by focusing on their families.
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