Loneliness is just as dangerous as other health problems, such as obesity. (Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Loneliness is just as dangerous as other health problems, such as obesity. (Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection)

One is the loneliest number and, sometimes, it could even be the most dangerous.

Loneliness is just as much of a public health hazard as obesity, if not more so, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association annual conference last week. Research from 148 studies, involving 300,000 participants, showed people who had greater social connections had a 50% reduced risk of dying early, and another set of research involving 70 studies representing 3.4 million people in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia found social isolation, loneliness or living alone each played a significant role in premature death.

Over 42 million Americans over the age of 45 suffer from chronic loneliness, according to the AARP. More than one-quarter of the population lives alone and more than half are unmarried, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People that considered themselves lonely were less likely to engage in social activities, such as going to religious services, volunteering or finding a hobby, the AARP study concluded. (It’s based on a scale created by UCLA, where respondents were asked about various characteristics linked to loneliness. (The AARP promotes group activities for seniors.)

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SOURCE: ALESSANDRA MALITO 
MarketWatch

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