• Juanita Weaver-Reiss

What are your connections and do they affect you and your health?

Updated: Jul 21

Are we spending enough time developing and enhancing those positive relationships?

Here is a news flash for you.

The people that you have social connections with will influence your overall health.

I know that is not probably a news flash for most people. You eat like the people in your household. Usually.

You are as physically active as the people you live with or work with. Usually.

A study was done to see what the influence of social connections has on obesity. This was The Framingham Heart Study and it was begun in 1948. There were originally 5,209 people in this study. The study was extended to include the offspring of the study group. The entire study was 12,067 people and the question was whether obesity could be spread through social groups.

The answer that was found is amazing. Or maybe it should have been expected. It does appear that the social connections that people have with each other does influence whether or not they themselves will be obese or overweight. Even if someone you know has a friend that you don't know, if that person is obese or overweight, that may influence you!

Social connections can also influence you to improve your health. They can add a layer of protection for your heart. It depends of the type of social connection you have.

If your family is concerned with making healthy food choices, then you will probably be more in tune to that and also pay attention to your foods and the choices you make.

Think about the recommendation to eat a meal together as family around the dinner table. How does that influence your food choices versus the times when you go out to eat at a fast food joint or at a restaurant?

Do you focus on making sure that vegetables are served?

Do you eat slower so you can recognize when you are satisfied?

Do you have conversations that helps to reduce your stress levels?

The mere fact of eating together, cooking a meal at home instead of going out to eat can increase your social connectedness and improve your health.

Thinking outside the medical box of an office visit. Your doctor may talk with you about your cholesterol levels, your blood pressure, your glucose numbers and A1C. But there should be another box or topic to talk about and that is your relationships or social connections.

Are your social connections positive?

Are they helping you or hindering you as you try to be healthier?

Are we spending enough time developing and enhancing those positive relationshps?

So maybe those are questions to ask yourself. I know I ask the same questions.

What can you do to make the relationships that you have help you have better health and ultimately protect your heart health and well-being?

I wish you Best Health,

Juanita

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa066082#t=article

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