Loneliness: America's Silent Epidemic Revealed by Surgeon General

13 May 2023 • Loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, warns Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in a new advisory. The report emphasizes the significant impact of loneliness on individual and societal health, linking it to cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death. In fact, loneliness's mortality impact is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Surprisingly, around half of American adults experience loneliness, surpassing other health threats like obesity, diabetes, and smoking. Young people aged 15-24 have seen a drastic 70% decline in in-person social interaction over the past two decades, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating this trend. The report also highlights the adverse consequences for isolated older adults and adolescents lacking positive relationships. Surgeon General Murthy calls for a national strategy involving stakeholders such as health systems, government, employers, schools, families, and caregivers.

The report suggests prioritizing social infrastructure and training healthcare providers to address social isolation. It urges action from educators, workplaces, community organizations, parents, and technology companies. While the report lacks binding policies, it provides a crucial starting point for combating the loneliness epidemic

Source: The Lancet | Read full story

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