: Loneliness is an ‘epidemic’ that costs billions and leads to bad health outcomes and even death

by | May 4, 2023 | Stock Market

Loneliness is more than a bad feeling. It’s as deadly as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death, according to an advisory by the U.S. Surgeon General. The mortality impact of being socially disconnected is greater than that of obesity and physical inactivity, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in an 81-page report called “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.”

Social isolation among older adults alone accounts for about $6.7 billion in excess Medicare spending a year, largely due to increased hospital and nursing facility spending, the report said.  Read: Depression, isolation, loss of purpose: Could retirement be bad for your mental health? Loneliness and isolation also are connected with lower academic achievement and worse performance at work. In the U.S., stress-related absenteeism attributed to loneliness costs employers an estimated $154 billion annually, according to the report. “Given the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation, we have an opportunity, and an obligation, to make the same investments in addressing social connection that we have made in addressing tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis,” the report said. Still, no federal funding or programming will be provided to combat the issue. Essentially, social connection is a significant predictor of longevity and better physical, cognitive, and mental health, while social isolation and loneliness are significant predictors of premature death and poor health, the report said. Read: Americans are lone …

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