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Prev Med. 2000 Feb;30(2):83-92.

Social relationships and cardiovascular disease risk factors: findings from the third national health and nutrition examination survey.

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Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



Our aim was to study the associations between social relationships and several health behaviors in a national sample of the U.S.



Using data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, which was conducted from 1988 to 1994, we examined the associations between the frequencies of organizational and individual relationships (derived from factor analysis) and cigarette smoking, not having had a blood pressure check during the preceding 12 months, not having had a cholesterol check, not engaging in physical activity, and eating fruits and vegetables fewer than five times per day among men and women aged 18 years and older.


After adjusting for age, sex, race, educational attainment, marital status, and employment status, increases in organizational relationships were associated with decreases in all five behaviors: significant inverse linear trends were noted only for smoking and physical activity. For individual relationships, significant inverse linear trends were noted for not having a blood pressure check within the previous 12 months, not having had a cholesterol check, and inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption. For physical inactivity, the shape of the relationship approximated a threshold response. For smoking, a significant positive linear trend was present.


These results support findings from previous studies and indicate that social relationships have a beneficial effect on several behaviors that directly or indirectly affect the risk of cardiovascular disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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