Childhood friendships can have a long-term benefit on your health  

Our social lives during our childhood might have a protective influence on physical health as we grow up. Researchers found that adults who used to spend a lot of time with friends as young boys had lower blood pressure levels and body mass index (BMI) at the age of 32

Childhood friendships can have a long-term benefit on health
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Childhood friendships are something we savour all our life. They are bonds that we created at a time when we had very less knowledge about worldly pleasures and the nitty-gritties of the modern society.

In that age of innocence, finding a friendship which is unconditional in all aspects is the most prized possession. And while childhood friendships have a very special and close place in our heart, they can be beneficial for our health in the long run as well.

In fact, a study, carried out by Jenny M. Cundiff, at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and Karen A. Matthews, at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, suggests that the more time that you spent hanging out with your best buddies as a kid; the likelier you are to have a healthy weight and blood pressure as an adult.

Healthier weight and blood pressure

It’s a fact that friendships boost your health and well-being. In adulthood, having more friends correlates with a lower risk of heart disease and hypertension. But do the benefits of your childhood friends last into adulthood?

This is what the researchers wanted to find out, so they analysed data from a large longitudinal study of 267 adults whose social lives were monitored between the ages of 6 and 16. Of all the study participants, around 56 per cent were black and about 41 per cent were white.

The study also looked at personality traits such as introversion and extraversion in both childhood and adulthood, as well as physical health and socioeconomic status.

After accounting for potential confounders, this association was still strong and evident over a 16-year period.

Cundiff comments on the strength of the findings, saying, “Although this wasn’t an experiment, it was a well-controlled longitudinal study in a racially diverse sample.”

“So, it provides a strong clue that being socially integrated early in life is good for our health independent of a number of other factors such as personality, weight in childhood, and the family’s social status in childhood,” the psychologist explains.

“These findings suggest that our early social lives may have a small protective influence on our physical health in adulthood, and it’s not just our caregivers or financial circumstances, but also our friends who may be health protective,” concluded Cundiff.

Source: Medical News Today