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Enlisting a friend can significantly improve a person’s chances of achieving goals in life. Mark Conner from the University of Leeds (United Kingdom), and colleagues worked with employees from 15 councils who volunteered to participate in two studies attempting to increase their levels of exercise or improve their diet. Some employees were just left to do it on their own; others were asked to recruit a partner.

People who have access to medical care that is comprehensive, readily accessible, and patient-centered are at lower risks of death. Anthony Jerant, from University of California/Davis (California, USA), and colleagues utilized data from the 2000- 05 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, which are large-scale surveys of people living in the U.S. and their health and health care.

Maintaining a daily positive affect — engaging in a mild, happy self-affirming attitude — helps people with chronic diseases to make better decisions about their health. Mary E. Charlson, from Weill Cornell Medical College (New York, USA), and colleagues completed three studies involving 756 patients in randomized controlled trials that show people can use positive affect and self-affirmation to help them make and sustain behavior change.