Nardi Steverink: Are good genes and a healthy lifestyle sufficient for healthy ageing?
Are good genes and a healthy lifestyle sufficient for healthy ageing?
Having the right genes and living a healthy lifestyle increase the chance of reaching an old age. But are these conditions sufficient?
Ever since the 1970s, it has been known that a long and healthy life is also strongly promoted by social factors, in particular by having sufficient adequate social bonds. Recent meta-analyses show that people who have enough satisfying social relationships and are not lonely live longer than people who do not. These effects are even comparable to the effect of known lifestyle factors such as non-smoking and sufficient exercise.
The challenge for research into the role of social relations and social networks is to examine the ‘adequate’ social relations and the characteristics of social networks that cause the increase in healthy years. The Sociology research group “Happy and healthy ageing” investigates this on the basis of questions such as: what are our social needs and what do we need to fulfil these needs from the perspective of our primary social networks and a larger social context? In this research, we also developed the so-called ‘GRIP&GLANS’ interventions. These courses support people in strengthening their self-management skills (GRIP) and wellbeing (GLANS). These interventions have proven to be effective in reducing loneliness and improving social wellbeing and are applied nationally in various organisations within the social domain.
|03 September 2019 12.16 p.m.