The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Loneliness poses profound public health threat

By Fenit Nirappil

02 May 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory calling for a collective effort to "mend the social fabric" of the country. The Post reports on the grave public health threat posed by loneliness.

Loneliness presents a profound public health threat akin to smoking and obesity, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy warned in an advisory issued Tuesday that aims to rally Americans to spend more time with each other in an increasingly divided and digital society.

Murthy said half of U.S. adults experience loneliness, which has consequences for mental and physical health, including a greater risk of depression, anxiety - and, perhaps more surprisingly, heart disease, stroke and dementia.

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