People Need People to Stay Healthy

Those who belong to churches, civic groups and social clubs fare better

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FRIDAY, May 14, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People need other people to stay healthy, according to a study in the American Journal of Health Behavior.

An analysis of 3,032 people found that completely healthy individuals differed from completely unhealthy ones not just because they took better care of themselves. The healthy people also were more involved socially through religious or civic groups.

That means belonging to a club, attending religious services or volunteering could contribute as much to your health as quitting smoking or getting more exercise, the researchers say.

"The prevalence of complete ill health was lowest for individuals who attended church weekly and highest among those who attended rarely or never," Dr. Joseph Grzywacz, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement. "Religiousness may promote or maintain mental health regardless of an individual's physical health status."

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SOURCES: Health Behavior News Service, news release, May 2004

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