Pointing as to how people living lonely solitary lives were more prone to developing type 2 diabetes, the researchers claimed how their study is one of the first study to determine the association of a broad range of social network characteristics - such as social support, network size or type of relationships - with different stages of type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Miranda Schram, corresponding author said: "High risk groups for type 2 diabetes should broaden their network and should be encouraged to make new friends, as well as become members of a club, such as a volunteer organization, sports club or discussion group".
To look for a connection between social interaction and diabetes, the research team needed to study a large-scale population. All individuals were ages 40-75, and living in the Netherlands.
The team then collected information about each individual's social networks using questionnaires and observed their social behaviors over a period of three months.
An active social life could help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes according to new research. - martinedoucet/ istock.com pic via AFPMAASTRICHT, Dec 20 - New European research has found that a good social life could lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Forty-three percent of the participants had either prediabetes, a recent diagnosis or existing type 2 diabetes. Higher percentages of household members in a social network were associated with higher odds of newly diagnosed diabetes in women and men.
Moreover, taking an average network size of 10 people, the researchers noted that each 10 percent "drop in network members living within walking distance" of each other was linked to a 21 percent higher risk of newly diagnosed diabetes, and a 9 percent higher chance of previously diagnosed diabetes in female participants. Every 10 additional contacts per half year was also associated with a lowered odds of previously diagnosed diabetes in women (OR 0.98; 95% CI 0.97 to 1.00, P≤0.05).
She adds that "men living alone seem to be at a higher risk for the development of type 2 diabetes, [so] they should become recognized as a high-risk group in healthcare". "These are quite large differences", they stated.
Women who did not participate in social activities were 112 percent more likely to have type 2 diabetes, while socially isolated men had a 42 percent higher chance of having the disease.
A Dutch study has shown loneliness and not being social, particularly in men, could impact the risk of type 2 diabetes. Promoting social integration and participation may be a promising target in prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes, researchers at Maastricht University Medical Centre, The Netherlands suggest.
"We have known for a long time that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, but now we have a better understanding that kidney disease, through elevated levels of urea, also raises the risk of diabetes", said the Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.
Recently, researchers have focused on how our social ties can influence our bodily, as well as mental, health.