Surgeon General Says Loneliness is an Epidemic

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Tuesday said loneliness is an epidemic in the country, outlining a series of steps Americans can take to address the growing problem.

“Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underestimated public health crisis that has damaged individual and societal health. Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being that lurks in plain sight — a source that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives,” Murthy said in a statement.

Murthy posted an advisory outlining the consequences of loneliness, which can include a 29% increased risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke, a 50% increased risk of developing dementia in people elderly and even an increased risk of premature disease. more than 60 percent dead. The opinion – which is around 80 pages – includes six different pillars for repairing the social bond in the United States

Strengthening social infrastructure, like building more parks and libraries, and enacting connection-friendly policies, like accessible public transportation or paid family leave, are two of Murthy’s pillars that he says , will help overcome loneliness. He also said reforming digital environments is a pillar of his plan, saying individuals need to be aware of how online environments can negatively impact their social relationships.

Other pillars of his plan include mobilizing the health sector, deepening knowledge about loneliness and social connections, and cultivating a culture of connections. The advisory says everyday practices, such as acting kindly and respecting each other, can help strengthen social bonds.

“Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connections in the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity and substance use disorders,” Murthy said in the statement. “Together, we can build a country that is healthier, more resilient, less alone and more connected.”

Murthy’s notice comes just days after he published an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday in which he announced he planned to publish a framework on loneliness. He also stressed in the op-ed that social connections must be a “top public health priority” in the country.

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Leave a Comment