Study Shows Being Single and Lonely Could be Worse For Your Health Than Obesity

Experts have sent out a stark warning that being single and/or lonely can increase the risk of an early death by as much as 50 percent, and can be more dangerous than obesity and even smoking.

The study was made and commissioned in the United States and headed up by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, the lead author and also professor of psychology at Brigham Young University, run The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Taking 218 cases, the main purpose was to look at the effects of social isolation and loneliness.

Julianne stated to The Sun: "Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need, crucial to both well-being and survival.

"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.

"Yet an increasing portion of the US population now experiences isolation regularly."


And this is not the only study stating that social isolation can have humongous effects on peoples' wellbeing.

Loneliness is not only attributed to mental conditions, which of course can give rise to physical manifestations as well. There is also evidence to suggest that lonely people have more extreme symptoms when they are unwell than those who are not.

Great Britain was named the loneliest place in Europe in 2014 with people least likely to know or communicate with neighbours and fewer people in general, with Britons well down on the 'happiness' and 'wellness' indexes.

Christian Guy, director of the Centre for Justice think-tank, said at the time: "There is something British about wanting to deal with problems yourself.

"There is sense that perhaps we internalise things a bit more, and men in particular think less about taking problems and crises to others and try to take it all upon themselves.

"But there is a risk of a real double-whammy here, these figures are concerning - it is inevitable in life that there will be problems and strains and that is why family ties and friendships really matter because those people help us through."

In the UK, The Campaign to End Loneliness has done a great deal of research into how much of the country is lonely, stating that around four million people of an older generation believe the television is their main form of company, and starkly comparing 59 percent of adults over the age of 52 who regularly feel physically unwell who also classify themselves as lonely some of the time or regularly, compared to just 21 percent of those who claim to be lonely saying they are in excellent health.

The Campaign to End Loneliness claims social isolation can increase mortality by 26 percent.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Research by the Jo Cox Foundation also showed that three quarters of elderly people are affected by loneliness, but rarely speak out, affecting their physical and mental state. Of course, loneliness is not only attributed to older generations, and it's good for you to get the help you need.

In fact, one report from the Office for National Statistics has stated that 16-24 year olds are among the most affected, with 10 percent 'always or often lonely'.

If you are suffering from any mental health issues around loneliness or in general, it's always good to reach out.

U OK M8?' is an initiative from TheLADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which will feature a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans:116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation.

You can also become a campaigner and get help from the Campaign to End Loneliness in the United Kingdom.

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