How could loneliness be a greater health risk than obesity? While the risks of the latter may outweigh that of the former in some ways, psychologists believe that loneliness and social isolation could pose a more serious overall danger to people, especially senior citizens.
Speaking at the American Psychological Association’s 125th annual convention, Brigham Young University professor of psychology Julianne Holt-Lunstad explained that it is important that people have some sort of social connection to others, for the benefit of their well-being. According to a report from PsychCentral, Holt-Lunstad cited some “extreme examples” of how a lack of social connection could be dangerous, such as infants dying following a lack of human contact, and criminals receiving solitary confinement in jail as punishment for their actions.
In an effort to explain how loneliness could trump obesity as a health risk, Holt-Lunstad brought up two meta-analyses — not actual studies, but rather a combination of data across several studies — at this week’s American Psychological Association convention.