The importance of social relations in healthy aging – University of Copenhagen

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18 February 2019

The importance of social relations in healthy aging

Family demography

Sociologist and demographer Lisbeth Loft examines the role of social environment factors and genetic predispositions in healthy aging.

Lisbeth Loft, assistant professor at Department of Sociology, is to head a new research group investigating the importance of social relations in healthy aging. The research group is a part of Center for Healthy Aging.

The Loft group focuses on two key questions in healthy aging. The first question examines how family relationships impact health later in life. For example not to have children of one’s own or to have lost a spouse relatively early can impact on health and wellbeing as we age.

The second question looks at how to introduce molecular genetic data into family demographic research and investigates the interplay of social environment factors and genetic predispositions in healthy aging. The interplay between environment and genes are researched in relation to a number of relevant health issues such as smoking, drinking, overweight and mental wellbeing.

- We know that social relations play a critical role in healthy aging. Still, we need to know more about when in the life course such social factors begin to shape our experiences in old age. There is also a need for more knowledge about how social factors complement genetic dispositions in that process. We hope with our research to contribute to the answers of both of these two important questions, Lisbeth Loft explains.

Read more about the Loft group’s work: Family Demography in the Loft Group