While health experts world over are worried over the rising rates of obesity, a new study suggests that loneliness is twice as unhealthy as obesity, especially among those over 50 years of age.
Researchers led by Professor John Cacioppo at University of Chicago observed more than 2,000 people over 50 years of age and found that those who were the loneliest were twice as likely to die within six years compared to those who felt the least lonely.
When compared with an average person, those who were lonely were 14 percent more likely to die, nearly twice as likely as obesity, while poverty increased the risk to 19 percent.
"We have mythic notions of retirement. We think that retirement means leaving friends and family and buying a place down in Florida where it is warm and living happily ever after. But that's probably not the best idea. We find people who continue to interact with co-workers after retirement and have friends close by are less lonely. Take time to enjoy yourself and share good times with family and friends. Non-lonely people enjoy themselves with other people", Cacioppo said.