Saturday, April 20, 2024

Loneliness As Dangerous as Smoking 15 Cigarettes A Day: Report

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has declared that widespread loneliness in the United States is a public health epidemic, with health risks comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day, which costs the health industry billions of dollars every year.

According to an 81-page report from his office, about 50% of U.S. adults have experienced loneliness. Dr. Murthy stated in an interview with The Associated Press that loneliness is a common feeling and is similar to hunger or thirst, as it is a signal from the body that something essential for survival is missing.

He issued an advisory to raise awareness about the prevalence of loneliness and the need to address it.

The recent declaration by the U.S. Surgeon General about loneliness is aimed at raising awareness about the issue but will not lead to any federal funding or programs to tackle it.

Research indicates that Americans have become increasingly isolated from community organizations, religious institutions, and even family members in recent decades, leading to a rise in loneliness.

Additionally, the number of single households has doubled over the past six decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has further worsened the crisis by forcing schools and workplaces to shut down, causing millions of Americans to isolate themselves at home away from friends and family.

The surgeon general’s report reveals that people reduced their social circles during the pandemic, and the time spent with friends dropped from 60 minutes daily nearly two decades earlier to only 20 minutes per day in 2020.

The younger generation, specifically those aged between 15 and 24, has been severely impacted by the loneliness epidemic, with a 70 percent decrease in time spent with friends during the pandemic.

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