Nov 042010
 

Being surrounded by family and friends makes you live longer, scientists have said.

People who have no social life are fifty per cent more likely to die early than those who are well connected, a study has shown.

Those who socialise regularly with family and friends live an average of 3.7 yeas longer than those who lead lonely lives, according to a report published yesterday.

People with little social support have a mortality rate as high as alcoholics, while the impact of making friends is comparable to the effect of giving up smoking, the research showed.

Researchers analysed data from 148 studies over three decades and involving more than 300,000 people.

Burt Uchino, the professor who led the research at the Universities of Utah and North Carolina, said: “Friends and supportive people can make life easier on a basic, every day level. They can lend you money, offer lifts or provide baby sitting.

“They can also encourage you to have better health practices, see a doctor, exercise more. They may also help you indirectly by making you feel you have something to live for.”

Professor Uchino said that the emotional support people receive from those close to them can help put their problems into perspective.

“By having a secure relationship and feeling loved, people live much more secure, calm lives,” he said.

The research found that the link between death and loneliness applied to men and women of all ages, regardless of their health.

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