As seen on New York Post, loneliness appears to be deadlier than obesity and needs to be considered a public health risks according to experts. Unfortunately, people with poor social skills have a 50 percent higher chance of early death in comparison to people who maintain good social connections throughout their lives, the study on loneliness points out.
Namely, US researchers investigated 218 studies on the health effects of loneliness and social isolation and concluded that loneliness is much more dangerous than obesity because it increases the chance for premature death by 50 percent whereas obesity by 30 percent.
What Did the Researchers Say?
The head of the study and professor at Brigham Young University, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad explains that having connections with others is a pivotal human need which is necessary for our well-being and survival. She further adds that there are extreme examples showing that infants who were in custodial care and lacked human contact failed to thrive and as a result, died.
Solitary confinement and social isolation have long been used as the highest of punishments.
Sadly, a high level of the US population struggles with isolation and feeling lonely is considered to make people feel poorly, both physically and mentally. What’s more, people who are lonely also suffer worse when they are not feeling good than those are not lonely.
Moreover, a survey done by Granset concluded that ¾ of elderly in the UK are lonely and have never explained how they feel to someone. 70 percent of them said that their closest ones would be surprised if they told them that they felt lonely. Britain, according to statistics of the Office of National Statistics, is the loneliest country in Europe.
Complications Arising from Loneliness
As noted on New York Post, the Campaign to End Loneliness explains that the loneliness epidemic in the UK costs businesses $26 million on a yearly basis due to the costs for health outcomes and sick days.
Holt-Lunstad claims that with the increase in aging population, the impact on public health will only rise. And, numerous other nations throughout the world believe that we are currently facing a “loneliness epidemic”.
What Can We Do?
Holt-Lunstad explains that we need to do something about this issue and she points out the importance and prioritizing of research and sufficient resources to deal with loneliness, for example, introducing social skills for children in schools.