News: The surprising reason high social status boosts health

Why do rich people live longer and have less disease than poor people‘even when access to health care is equal?

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Why do rich people live longer and have less disease than poor people‘even when access to health care is equal?

The answer may surprise you.

A new baboon study shows that despite the fact that high testosterone in high-status males can lower immunity and increase disease risk, good stress (that comes from exercise or sex) coupled with more social support, accounts for their ability to recover three times faster from illness or injury than low-ranking males.

What does this mean for humans?

We may be more likely to suffer from long-term, chronic stress if we have a low social status, but the negative health impact of that stress can be mitigated with a little TLC. 

High levels of social support’especially physical contact’can help boost health. So (when we’re not fighting about money) trading hugs and massages with our partners, family and friends is the key to staying healthy in times of stress.

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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