Loneliness, Social Isolation May Be Bigger Health Threats in US Than Obesity

UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — There might be bigger threats to our health than obesity.

A new study suggests loneliness and isolation are quickly becoming major public health concerns in the U.S.

According to research presented at a convention of the American Psychological Association, feeling lonely or being cut off from social connection may increase risk of premature death by up to 50 percent.

To reach that conclusion, scientists analyzed two past studies on the link between loneliness, social isolation and mortality involving hundreds of thousands of American adults.

Study author Julianne Holt-Lunstad from Brigham Young University said, “Many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’ The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.”

Holt-Lunstad suggests making social skills training a bigger focus in schools, talking about social connections during medical screenings, and helping retirees plan for the social implications of leaving the workforce.