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Childhood friendships may carry health benefits into adulthood

Raghu Kshitiz

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WASHINGTON — Time spent with friends in childhood is associated with physical health in adulthood, according to the findings, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The study data from a multi-decade study of men show that boys who spent more time with friends as children tended to have lower blood pressure and lower BMI as men in their early 30s.

“These findings suggest that our early social lives may have a small protective influence on our physical health in adulthood, and it’s not just our caregivers or financial circumstances, but also our friends who may be health protective,” Jenny Cundiff , says psychological scientist at Texas Tech University.

The fact that the association was evident over a 16-year span and was not explained by several other potential factors gives Cundiff confidence in the results.

“Although this wasn’t an experiment, it was a well-controlled longitudinal study in a racially diverse sample — so it provides a strong clue that being socially integrated early in life is good for our health independent of a number of other factors such as personality, weight in childhood, and the family’s social status in childhood,” she explains.

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In many previous studies, researchers have found an association between adults’ social well-being — including their close relationships and sources of social support — and health-related outcomes including cardiovascular risk factors.

Cundiff and coauthor Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh wondered whether this association might be evident much earlier in life, in childhood and adolescence.

To find out, the researchers examined data from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, a longitudinal study following cohorts of boys who were initially recruited to participate as students in Pittsburgh public schools.

Specifically, they examined data from 267 individuals in the youngest cohort, most of whom were Black (about 56%) or White (about 41%).

The participants’ parents reported how much time their children spent with their friends during an average week, beginning when the boys were about 6 years old and continuing through age 16.

The study also included data on various individual characteristics (e.g. extraversion and hostility in childhood; physical health in childhood and adulthood) and family and environmental factors (e.g., socioeconomic status in childhood, social integration in adulthood).

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Analyses revealed that boys who spent more time with their friends in childhood and adolescence, as reported by their parents, had healthier blood pressure and body mass index at age 32.

This association held even after Cundiff and Matthews accounted for other potential influences, including physical health in childhood and social integration in adulthood.

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Why men prefer curvy women, revealed

Gorkha Post

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NEW YORK —Why do most men prefer ladies with curvier bodies, especially sharp curvy hips? According to a study, modern man’s this preference has ancient evolutionary roots.

According to a research carried out by a team from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin and the UT – Arlington has found that for a mate, man preferred a woman with a “theoretically optimal angle of lumber curving,”  a 45.5-degree bend from back to buttocks allowing ancestral women to better support, provide for, and carry out multiple pregnancies.

“The findings enable us to conclusively show that men prefer women who exhibit specific angles of spinal bend over buttock mass,” said study’s co-author Eric Russell from the UT – Arlington in a paper published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

This investigation consisted of two studies. The first looked at vertebral wedging, an underlying spinal feature that can influence the actual curve in women’s lower backs.

Around 100 men rated the attractiveness of several manipulated images showing spinal curves ranging across the natural spectrum.

Men were most attracted to images of women displaying the hypothesized optimum of 45 degrees of lumbar curvature.

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This adds growing body of evidence that beauty is not entirely arbitrary or “according to the viewer” as many in mainstream social sciences believed, but instead has a coherent adaptive logic, added psychology professor David Buss from the UT Austin.

“This spinal structure would have enabled pregnant women to adjust their weight over the hips,” the authors noted.

These women would have been more effective at foraging during pregnancy and less likely to suffer spinal injuries.

Thus, men who preferred these women would have had mates who were better able to provide for foetus and offspring, and who would have been the able to carry out multiple pregnancies without injury.

The second study addressed the topic of whether men prefer this angle because it reflects bigger buttocks, or whether it truly can be attributed to the angle in the spine itself.

Around 200 men were presented with groups of images of women with differing buttock size and vertebral wedging, but maintaining a 45.5-degree curve.

Men consistently preferred women whose spinal curvature was closer to optimum regardless of buttock size.

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