A man walks along a road during the season's first major snowfall in Srinagar, India January 4, 2016. Reuters/Danish Ismail

Whether they are exercising regularly or not, teenagers are at a great risk of developing health problems if they are lonely. Researchers at University of North Carolina have found out that lonely teenagers are always at a higher risk of developing problems such as inflammation and abdominal obesity. These problems pave the way for still greater problems such as stroke, heart problems, immune function disorders and even cancer later on in life as they age.

According to ABC News, numerous researches has been done linking loneliness to health disorders in the elderly but this is the first time that such a study has been conducted on teenagers/young people. The main focus of the study was to find out a link between social life and health issues such as inflammation, teenage obesity and blood pressure problems, to name a few. Results have proved that one's social life is an important determinant in the overall health of a person.

Participants of the study who were well-connected socially showed better a health status and fewer health problems compared to those who were not. Thus, the researchers in their study have urged young people to build social skills and consider that as important as eating healthy and exercising regularly. It is important for teenagers to be connected with family and friends in school as well as in their neighbourhood.

“The reason that we chose these [health issues] is because all of them are highly related to important diseases that will come along later in life; including heart disease, stroke, cancer, immune function,” said University of North Carolina professor of Sociology Kathleen Mullan Harris.

She also added that interacting with different people on a regular basis buffers many of the daily stressors people confront every day. However, the findings do not mean that everybody must be outgoing or extroverted. A young person can be shy and may not have many friends but it is important for that teenager to be involved in a number of activities. If one feels that he/she is lonely, then that’s a problem.

Researchers also used other data sets of middle aged and older people. It was found out that between the age group of 18-50, the quality of relationships mattered more than the quantity of relationships. Those in the middle adulthood range are naturally connected in various social networks.