Loneliness epidemic

Study finds being single is worse for your health than being overweight

Here’s some happy news! A groundbreaking new study has determined that loneliness and isolation have a greater impact on a person’s life chances than their weight.

The study was led by Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University in Utah. Researchers looked at more than 200 cases and found that, while obesity increases a person’s chances of an early death by 30%, loneliness can increase it by a whopping 50%.

“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need– crucial to both well-being and survival,” Holt-Lunstad says.

Weak social connections, researchers determined, increase a person’s risks of having a lower quality of life, which, in turn, increases their risks of a premature demise. This includes being single, moving to a new city, or not having enough regular social interaction with others.

Related: LGBTQ People Far More Likely To Suffer From Mental Health Issues, Study Claims

“Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,” Holt-Lunstad says.

So what’s the ultimate takeaway from all this?

“Social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” Holt-Lunstad explains.

And the problem doesn’t appear to be getting any better either.

“With an increasing aging population,” Hold-Lundstad adds, “the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase. Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic’.”

Have a great day!

Related: ‘Study’ claims fast food consumption and sleep deprivation cause homosexuality

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4 Comments

  • level75RDM

    My takeaway, Queerty, is that you misrepresented the suggestion of all these studies being done to create a sensationalist post title that you know will probably hit a lot of gay men where it hurts. But a lot of the studies being done right now about lack of social connection aren’t about relationship status- in fact, having a romantic partner doesn’t seem to help someone if they have no friends or family to rely on. I’m sure many here have read “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness”. That article may have touched on the particulars that affect gay men, but people having less important social connections is a real thing that’s not only affecting gay people.

    I’d suggest readers go back to the post about the guy who keeps mistakenening outings with straight guys for dates. Most of the comments were pointing out that the guy could, y’know, just be grateful how easily he made a new friend- God knows that’s hard enough to do in adulthood as it is.

    So for anyone who read this title worried your singleness will drag your health down, the study wasn’t about it. You’ll be fine being single. You’ll be in trouble if the extent of your contact with others is being glued to cell phone and texting alone at night.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      A Queerty headline that totally misses the point of the subject matter? (Gasp!) Say it isn’t so.

      Thanks for mentioning the article “The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness” (HuffPost, Mar 2, 2017) which I’d been unfamiliar with. I just finished reading it and though I might have a few quibbles, it seems about right.

      Over & over I’ve seen Queerty posters who focus like a laser beam on finding a romantic partner. And if they can’t, they assume it’s because they are (fill in the blank: too poor, too fat, over 40, over 50, etc etc etc.). But in that case, of course, they think it’s the gay community’s fault for being so superficial! Do guys like that have any non-sexual friends? They sure don’t seem to.

      It’s vitally important for gay male adults to have close, non-sexual, platonic friends – or as Queerty would say “plutonic” friends, lol.

  • MacAdvisor

    Great, I am obese AND I live alone. I am probably already dead.

    • dgsea06

      MacAdvisor, Spot On! I’m skinny and 72 years old and I love living alone. I was “hot” once, and it’s not all it’s cranked up to be. IMO, loneliness is a state of mind. If, y’know “People who need people are the lickiest people in the world” (Sorry, Barbra) then count me in as, um” “Unlucky”. I adore my solitude and the freedom to not be driven by “studies”.
      But, thanks QUEERTY for yet another thought and emotion provoking article. Fun to read everytiing Q posts.

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