With Obesity, Social Isolation and Loneliness Are Tied to Early Death


Interventions to help with loneliness and social isolation may put people with obesity at a lower risk for health complications, according to a new study published January 22 in JAMA Network Open.

Social and psychological factors are often ignored in favor of dietary and lifestyle factors when it comes to improving health in people with obesity, says the lead study author, Lu Qi, MD, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and the director of Tulane University Obesity Research Center in New Orleans. “Our findings suggest that improving loneliness and social isolation may benefit health in people with obesity,” he says.

What’s the Difference Between Social Isolation and Loneliness?

Social isolation and loneliness are more than just bad feelings, fleeting emotions, or temporary situations: They are distinct factors that are linked, separately, with health outcomes and mortality (death).

Social isolation measures the scarcity of contact with others and related health resources, while loneliness reflects a sense of detachment potentially linked to emotional states like depression.


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