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Loneliness is More Harmful than Inactivity for Teens

Update Date: Jan 08, 2016 09:27 AM EST

According to the latest research conducted by the University of North Carolina, being lonely is considered far more harmful for the teenagers than lack of exercising. There have been many studies in the past that analyze the impact of social isolation on the health of elderly. However, this is the first time when its impact has been studied on the young as well. The researchers at UNC revealed through their findings that it was very important to support young people to build their social skills as it is to ask them to eat healthy and exercise. To study the impact, the researchers analyzed the teenagers depending on how involved they were with their friends, family, school and neighborhood. Professor Kathleen Mullan Harris, professor of Sociology at UNC, said that the when teenagers had fewer social connections they faced increased risks of abdominal obesity and inflammation, reported ABC Online

"The reason that we chose these [health issues], all of them are highly related to important diseases that will come along later in life; including heart disease, stroke, cancer, immune function." The researchers closely monitored the physical activity of the teenagers and realized that regardless of their active lifestyle, if they had weak social ties, they generally displayed outcome of poor health. Professor Kathleen added that a person's relationships with others offers a shield against many daily stressors that people experienced on a daily basis. "So when you're socially isolated you don't have that advantage and then your body feels sort of the full impact of the daily stressors that we confront every day." Researchers also say that loneliness is not just an emotion but also a state of mind that also impact a person physically, as reported by Health Aim.

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