Sat, Jul 20, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Negative friends hasten bone loss: study

By Lo Pi and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taiwan Osteoporosis Association yesterday said that postmenopausal women should avoid befriending people with negative attitudes, after the University of Arizona published research linking social stress to osteoporosis.

The study, which ties high social stress to bone loss in postmenopausal women, was published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, said association president Chen Fang-ping (陳芳萍), a doctor of osteology at Keelung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.

The researchers tracked the bone density of 11,000 women and gave the respondents questionnaires to calculate their social stress on a scale of four to 20 points, with higher numbers representing greater stress, Chen said.

Researchers found that each point of social stress increases bone density loss by 0.108 percent in the hip, 0.082 percent in the femur and 0.069 percent in the lower spinal column, she said.

The paper’s authors believe psychological stress could exert a slew of negative effects on hormone production, which hastens the progression of osteoporosis, she added.

Friends who discourage exercise or other activities that are beneficial physically or mentally could be a drag on health, Chen said, adding that postmenopausal women should practice positivity by finding something to laugh about every day.

Broadening one’s social circle is important to countering postmenopause depression and anxiety, which are common for women who have retired or whose adult children have left home, she said.

Friends who cast a cloud over your social life should be cut loose, John Tung Foundation Mental Health Center director Yeh Ya-hsing (葉雅馨) said.

“You cannot choose your family, but you can choose your friends,” Yeh said.

“The research strongly suggests that bad friends have a negative effect on postmenopausal mental and physical health, so there is no reason to keep them,” she said.

Taking time off from social media could be useful to those who find online arguments disturbing to their peace and quiet, Yeh said.

Outdoor activity and exercise are recommended as an alternative to using devices to fight boredom, she added.

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