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Being Single Could Mean An Earlier Death: Study

Single Death

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 08/18/11 01:36 PM ET Updated: 10/18/11 06:12 AM ET

Singles may tout the benefits of their lifestyle -- but longevity is probably not one of them, a new review of studies reveals.

Researchers from the University of Louisville in Kentucky analyzed 90 past studies on the subject, and found that men who stay single may die eight to 17 years before married men, while women who stay single may die seven to 15 years before married women, according to the study, first reported by MSNBC.

Researchers said this could be attributed to the fact that there is more social support and public assistance for married couples. For example, a recent study showed that married men manage to get to a hospital for a heart attack sooner than single men.

According to the new review, single men have a 32 percent higher risk of death over their lifetimes compared with married men, while single women have a 23 percent higher risk of death over their lifetimes than married women, the American Journal of Epidemiology study said.

However, it's important to note that the researchers looked at studies conducted on the subject that were published over the last 60 years. Plus, the analysis also doesn't take into account the impact of a bad marriage on longevity, MSNBC reported.

“I don’t think you need a study to tell people that a lousy marriage is going to be bad for someone’s health,” study researcher David Roelfs, an assistant professor of sociology, told MSNBC.

The review of studies also only defined married people as people who remained married throughout their lives, not divorced or widowed people who were at once married but then became single, MSNBC reported.

However, a study of 67,000 Americans from 2006 showed that single people still tend to die sooner than widowed, divorced and separated people, in addition to married people, San Diego 10News reported.

Past research also suggests poor health outcomes for people who live alone. A British study released in 2001 shows that middle-aged men who live alone have a 23 percent increased risk of dying earlier than their married counterparts, The Telegraph reported.

So what exactly can help extend your life? Exercising (as little as 15 minutes a day, less than the recommended amount), staying positive, eating more fiber and having a friendly workplace, research shows.

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