Loneliness increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes, study suggests

People who have fewer social connections are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

>> Read more trending news 

That’s according to researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, who published their findings this week in the journal BMC Public Health, revealing that socially isolated individuals are more prone to have newly diagnosed and prevalent Type 2 diabetes.

"Most diabetes prevention efforts focus on becoming more physically active or modifying one's diet, which are hard to achieve," Miranda Schram, an epidemiologist at Maastricht University and study co-author, told PBS NewsHour.

>> Related: Scientists may have found a way to reverse Type 2 diabetes

"So we wanted to look for effective, alternative strategies that can be used for intervention,” she said.

Maastricht University has an ongoing study searching for genetic and environmental risk factors connected to Type 2 diabetes. This specific part of the study looked at a large-scale population of 40 to 75 year old individuals living in southern Netherlands.

>> Related: Study: Broccoli extract lowers blood sugar for type 2 diabetes patient 

The researchers analyzed 2,861 participants, looking specifically at the disease's connection to isolation. While the majority of the sample population did not have the disease, 43 percent had pre-diabetes, a recent diagnosis or existing Type 2 diabetes.

>> Related: Men with obese wives have increased risk of diabetes, researchers say 

After collecting data about the participants’ social networks via questionnaires as well as observing their social behavior, the researchers found that isolated women and men had significantly higher chances of having Type 2 diabetes compared to those with larger social networks.

Lonely women had a 112 percent higher chance, while men’s odds were 42 percent higher. Furthermore, men who lived alone had a 94 percent higher chance of having the disease.

>> Related: Liquid, low-calorie diet can put diabetes in remission, study finds 

"Medical professionals may need to start recognizing and focusing on single, socially isolated men as the most high-risk group," Schram said.

The research also revealed an individual's network size and proximity to friends and family directly correlated to their chance of having the disease. This is especially true for women.

"As our numbers show, the size of the group and type of relationship makes a big difference for women," Stephanie Brinkhues, a public health researcher at Maastricht University and lead author of the study said. "And keeping those friends close by is also a great benefit."

>> Related: This is what 12 Diet Cokes a day can do to your body, according to Atlanta nutritionists 

"New lifestyle interventions should be combined with stimulating participants to become members of a club (e.g. volunteer organization, sports club, discussion group), as we have shown that a lack of participation in social activities was associated with pre-diabetes and previously diagnosed T2DM," Brinkues also wrote in a blog post accompanying the study. "Social network size and social participation may be used as a risk indicator in diabetes prevention strategies."

Read more here.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation & World

Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky
Another meteor? Reports come in of bright flash across Ohio, Indiana night sky

Another meteor may have lit up the sky late Wednesday. Several reports have come into WHIO-TV's newsroom of a bright flash that shot across the sky just before midnight Thursday. People from Englewood, Ohio; Marysville, Ohio; and Randolph County, Indiana, have said they saw the bright flash, with some saying it was bright blue or blue-green...
'Potentially hazardous' monster asteroid will fly close to Earth
'Potentially hazardous' monster asteroid will fly close to Earth

A monster space rock classified by NASA as "potentially hazardous" is headed toward Earth. Asteroid 2002 AJ129 – which at 0.7 miles is wider than the tallest building in the U.S. (New York's One World Trade Center) stacked on top of itself – is predicted to miss our planet, according to Metro. However, it will pass...
Georgia sheriff: I don't care if you're from Wisconsin or need beer, stay home
Georgia sheriff: I don't care if you're from Wisconsin or need beer, stay home

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was back at it again with the jokes (and insults) as Georgia woke up to a messy wintry mix Wednesday, prompting schools, businesses and nearly three-fourths of the state’s roadways to close. State government offices are remaining closed for non-essential personnel Thursday across the 83 counties...
Companies turn your Facebook friends into a sales force
Companies turn your Facebook friends into a sales force

Betsy Stover was 17 when her mother asked her to help fax strangers, hawking a service that had the markings of a pyramid scheme. “I always felt like a creep sending unsolicited faxes,” said Stover, who hated the chore, but knew the work required cold calls to succeed. Stover, now a 38-year-old comedian based in Los Angeles, had largely...
More Stories