How Does the Role of the Family Affect Physical Health?
Have you ever wondered if the structure and influence of your family could actually impact your physical health? Well, that’s a question that researchers, as well as experts that consider themselves a master of public health, have been asking for a long time, and they’ve come up with several conclusions.
Continue reading to learn more about this topic, and then consider getting your masters in public health online so you can make sure every family and every child can be as healthy as possible.
A Study of Low-Income Families
Researchers have found that individuals who live in minority, low-income communities can lead healthy lifestyles and be physically healthy if they’re receiving the benefits of tightly knit social connections with friends and family. However, the opposite can also be true.
Findings from research conducted by investigators from Dana-Farber and the Harvard School of Public Health have found that people with a lot of close friends tend to consume more vegetables and fruits every day when compared to individuals who have a small number of close friends. But at the same time, people that had strong relationships with their family members consumed more fast food and sugary drinks than those with weaker family bonds.
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The theory is that those who are vulnerable as a result of poor access to necessary services, low income, and other social responsibilities and demands, such as being a caregiver to an elderly or ill relative or being a single parent, tend to be deprived of the energy and time required to adopt and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
A Multi-National Study’s Results
Another multi-national study consisted of over 15,000 individuals from 12 countries. The results also found that social relationships will play a great role in determining a person’s physical health status.
Almost 43% of the respondents in the study said that they believe that their family and friends have the biggest impact upon their lifestyle, particularly as it relates to their health. Also, about 36% of the respondents stated that family and friends have the largest impact upon their personal nutrition.
The study also concluded that individuals modelling a healthier lifestyle don’t actively connect with other people who might be able to benefit from their way of life, support, and knowledge. In fact, 31% of respondents, particularly those with healthier behaviors, typically distance themselves from any friends that usually engage in behaviors that are unhealthy.
More research found that people believe that family, individuals, and friends, as well as nongovernment organizations, ultimately have a much bigger impact upon their lifestyle and health than their government and their employers.
What It Means for You
Overall, this research proves that the personal relationships that you have with your closest family and friends will have an influence over how well you eat, how much you exercise, and what healthy lifestyle habits you choose to pursue and which ones you neglect.
It’s clear that surrounding yourself with those who can provide you with a positive example could help you lead a healthier lifestyle, and family does indeed affect physical health.
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