- Reviewed by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
Among its many health benefits, socializing is tied to reduced risks of early death. But how much socializing might it take to live longer? Maybe just a little, suggests a large Chinese study published online March 6, 2023, by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Scientists evaluated the health, lifestyle habits, and self-reported social activity of more than 28,000 people (average age 89) whose survival was tracked for an average of five years or until death. Within the first five years, the more people socialized, the longer they lived. Each of the following groups lived longer than the one before it: those who socialized occasionally, monthly, weekly, or every day. People in any of these groups lived longer than those who did not socialize at all. However, after five years, it appeared that only people who socialized daily clearly lived longer than the others. This is an observational study and can't prove cause and effect. Also, the authors didn't analyze the different types of social activity people took part in. But we know there are many important reasons to socialize, including links to lower risks for loneliness and isolation, dementia, and chronic disease. So set a goal to increase your social activity, such as calling a friend or getting together with one.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
About the Reviewer
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
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