First, let’s start with the good stuff. Those who have quality relationships with friends tend to have a reduced risk of some significant health problems. Better support tends to lead to less stress and in turn, lower blood pressure and decreased odds of developing diabetes. It can also help keep your mind sharp as you age, and if you have good friends, then you tend to live longer to use that sharp mind, too. Heart disease and depression are also less common in those with quality friendships. Unfortunately for those who lack close friends, loneliness can have the same effect on health as smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day.
On the other hand, just like momma said, friends aren’t always good influences. For instance, having a close friend who becomes obese increases your odds of becoming obese by 57-71%. Is your best friend your spouse? Having a spouse who becomes obese increases your chances by about 40%. Now, obesity isn’t contagious in the sense that by being in the same place as obese person causes you to become obese, but sharing the same meals together can definitely have an effect on your health. For example, eating out at work with friends increases your calorie intake, on average, by just under 1,300 calories per week. Unless you and your colleagues also have intense workouts scheduled later, then that average increase in calorie intake could lead to over 20 pounds of weight gain each year! With that amount of weight gain, you could now see higher chances of high blood pressure and diabetes as opposed to reaping some of those health benefits listed above.
So, in general, friendships are good. Having friends who are there to help through life’s challenges and to celebrate life’s victories can lead to a healthier and longer life. As long as you’re doing good things together, life with close friends to share it with can definitely be more fulfilling, and TWHC wishes you a happy holiday season with those friends. Just remember to go easy on the stuffing 😉