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Studies suggest that unpopular teens may be at increased risk of heart disease later in life

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A new study published on Tuesday found that 13-year-olds, who were less popular with their growing peers, appear to be at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in their later years. This increases the risk of conditions such as stenosis and hardened arteries and abnormal heartbeats that affect the normal functioning of the heart and blood vessels.

John Vansetters, a prominent professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina, said, “Peer status is the most powerful psychological and healthy outcome decades later. It is one of the predictors. ”

“Some early studies show that our liking among elementary school peers more strongly predicts life outcomes than IQ, parental income, grade, and existing physical illness. I did, “said Prinstein, who was not involved in the study.

Princestein and the authors of the study said it was important to note that peer status is a particular form of popularity-favorability rather than a cool child.

“Many people would consider high-ranking children to be very prominent and influential children-spend in smoking areas during breaks and have parties on weekends. This is perception. Another type of popularity, sometimes referred to as popularity, said Ylva Almquist, an associate professor and senior lecturer in the Faculty of Public Health Sciences at Stockholm University and author of a study published in the journal BMJ Open.

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“Companion status is rather an indicator of favorability, the degree to which a child is accepted and respected by peers.”

Chronic health problems are usually explained by genetic factors or behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthy, Research suggested Its quality relationship is an important indicator of mortality.

Observational study

In this Swedish study, researchers used data from the Stockholm Birth Cohort Multigenerational Study, which included everyone who was born in 1953 and lived in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, in 1963.

The health of 5,410 men and 5,990 women was followed up to their 60s. At the age of 13, I was asked who my classmates would like to work with. They used the results to determine the “peer group status”. It has been divided into four categories. 1 (“low status”); 2 or 3 (“medium status”); and 4 or more (“high status”).

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Researchers say that 33% of boys enjoy a high position in the peer group at age 13, slightly more than girls (28.5%). About 16% of girls were classified as “peripheral” compared to 12% of boys.

Cardiovascular disease was more common in men than in women, but children classified as “marginalized” at age 13 had a 33% to 34% higher risk of cardiovascular disease in both adult men and women. I did.

The study took into account the number and location of siblings, parental education and mental health, socio-economic conditions, and school factors such as intelligence, academic performance, and criminal activity, the researchers said.

But as an observational study, it can only show links, and Almquist said the association may have many explanations.

“A common dilemma in this type of study is to have the information needed to establish an association between childhood status and adult health outcomes, but most of what is happening between them. I don’t know, “said Almukist.

Possibility of chronic inflammation due to stress

Catherine Erich, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the study, said one explanation could be chronic inflammation associated with the stressful experience of relationships in both adolescence and adulthood. Said there is.

“Stressful social experiences, such as social isolation, can lead to persistent, unresolved inflammation, and if these levels persist for long periods of time, arterial plaques, heart attacks, and others. May increase the risk of cardiovascular disorders, “said Erich, who was not involved in the study.

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“Healthy behavior may also play a role in the progression of cardiovascular disease from low peers decades later. Socially isolated individuals eat unhealthy diets and drink excessively. You are more likely to engage in and live a sedentary life, and you may also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. “

According to Prinstein, who is also the author of “, there is also the logic of evolution.Popularity: Find happiness and success in a world where you don’t really care about the wrong kind of relationship

“Our seeds are uniquely and surprisingly harmonious with our social status because we depended on each other for safety many years ago,” he said.

“Currently, social rejection activates the same areas of the brain that are known to respond to body pain and expresses dormant DNA to prepare our body for imminent damage. Unfortunately, this reaction is no longer needed, so these expression genes make us more vulnerable to viral infections and more likely to suffer from inflammation-related illnesses. ” Prinstein said.

He also added that high-ranking peers were likely to be given the opportunity to learn and access more resources, including those that could promote their health. I did.

“We pay attention to the factors that we think can spend a lot of time, energy and money to increase the chances of a happy and successful life for our children, but perhaps ignore one of the most important factors. Others have been recognized as positive. “

For parents who are worried about their child’s social life, Almquist says that having a caring parent is a “protective factor”, as problematic experiences with peers do not automatically lead to health problems. I emphasized.

Ehrlich agreed that a strong bond between parents and teens could act as a buffer against problematic peer relationships. “Looking at these findings, it’s understandable to worry about the long-term consequences for teens who may be more socially isolated.

“In addition, many young people are struggling with their peers at one point or another.” The advice I give my family is: Keep up the challenge. Join a new club. And meet people online, throw yourself in there-no one knows who can be a lifelong friend. “

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