new year's resolutions workplace wellness

New Year’s Resolution: Build Your Network to Build Your Health

In case you actually too the last week of the year to unplug and simply enjoy the wonders of family and friends and missed it, last week we started our discussion of New Year’s Resolutions, focusing on smoking.

We highlighted how a well-run workplace wellness program that introduces a smoking cessation program may provide an additional benefit: Workplace efforts may carry over to the home.

Another benefit of a well-run workplace wellness program is the sense of community it creates — the ways in which working constructively with colleagues on individual and collective health goals can help lift everyone to better outcomes.

A new study adds to this concept.

MedPage Today reports that Dutch researchers have found that “socialization may play a key role in preventing type 2 diabetes.”

The study in BMC Public Health outlines the background: “Social isolation is associated with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), but it is unclear which elements play a crucial role in this association. Therefore, we assessed the associations of a broad range of structural and functional social network characteristics with normal glucose metabolism, pre-diabetes, newly diagnosed T2DM and previously diagnosed T2DM.”

The results were remarkable — and speak to one positive aspect of a well-run workplace wellness program.

The study notes:

  • “More socially isolated individuals (smaller social network size) more frequently had newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed T2DM, while this association was not observed with pre-diabetes.”
  • “In women, proximity and the type of relationship was associated with newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed T2DM.”
  • “A lack of social participation was associated with pre-diabetes as well as with previously diagnosed T2DM in women, and with previously diagnosed T2DM in men.”
  • “Living alone was associated with higher odds of previously diagnosed T2DM in men, but not in women.”
  • “Less emotional support related to important decisions, less practical support related to jobs, and less practical support for sickness were associated with newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed T2DM in men and women, but not in pre-diabetes.”

Stephanie Brinkhues and co-author Miranda Schram of Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands told¬†MedPage Today.”Previous studies have shown that the social network is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. However, these studies typically focused on single indicators of the social network, like emotional support or living alone,” ¬†“We feel that a total picture of the social network is important, and are the first to assess a broad range of functional social network characteristics, such as different types of social support, the size of the network and whether there are more relationships with family or friends.”

The study concludes: “This study shows that several aspects of structural and functional characteristics of the social network were associated with newly and previously diagnosed T2DM, partially different for men and women. These results may provide useful targets for T2DM prevention efforts.”