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Module 1

1. Social Connections Build Healthier Lives

During the last 30 years, researchers have shown great interest in the phenomena of social support, particularly in the context of health. Prior work has found that those with high quality or quantity of social networks have a decreased risk of mortality in comparison to those who have low quantity or quality of social relationships, even after statistically controlling for baseline health status. In fact, social isolation itself was identified as an independent major risk factor for all-cause mortality.

Being Socially Active May Foster Better Physical and Mental Health. Keeping a busy social calendar may help you stay not only busy -- but happy and healthy as well. A new study shows that social connections are as important to mental and physical health as other healthy behaviors, such as quitting smoking or exercising regularly.

Researchers found people who volunteer, go to church, or belong to a club are more likely to report better overall health than people who don't engage in regular social activities.

"Complete health may be achieved through ways other than, or in addition to, those focusing on individuals' patterns of exercise, eating, and smoking," says Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in a news release. "Social behaviors have been largely overlooked in health promotion practice, yet they may hold significant promise for enhancing individual and population health."