Until now, obesity affecting over one-third of the entire adult population was believed to be the main health problem in the United States. Now it turns out that there are two other bigger threats: loneliness and social isolation. A recent review of studies indicates that loneliness increases the risk of mortality.
According to Psychological Association, “approximately 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study. In addition, the most recent U.S. census data shows more than a quarter of the population lives alone, more than half of the population is unmarried and, since the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children per household have declined.”
Relationships and contacts with other people are widely regarded as a fundamental need of our species, necessary for both good functioning and survival. As simple as it sounds humans needs relationships with other humans. Superficial and short-term contacts will not cut it.
It’s hardly surprising that advanced technology and changes in the modern society are considered to be the cause of this phenomenon. Due to economic circumstances and progressing globalization we are often living large distances away from our extended family and friends. Furthermore, our growing dependence on social media, makes us feel more isolated. We often fail to connect face-to-face with people around us. This is especially true in big cities. These combined factors cause us to feel less connected with more superficial relationships.