Addressing loneliness and social isolation may reduce the risk of health complications in obese people, according to a new study.
Loneliness is a global issue, and this discovery is especially significant because people who are obese are more likely to experience it.
Dr. Lu Qi, the study’s lead author, discussed the current focus on dietary and lifestyle factors in preventing obesity-related illnesses. He emphasised the significance of addressing social and mental health concerns to improve the well-being of obese individuals.
According to Dr. Qi, a professor and interim chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, it’s time to consider social and psychological factors alongside dietary and lifestyle factors when developing interventions to prevent obesity-related complications.
The study examined data from nearly 400,000 people in the UK BioBank, a comprehensive biomedical database and research resource that follows people over time.
The participants had no prior history of cardiovascular disease, and the follow-up period lasted from March 2006 to November 2021.
During this time, obese people who reported feeling less lonely and socially isolated had a 36% lower risk of all-cause death.
Dr. Qi believes that these findings highlight the importance of incorporating social and psychological factors into intervention strategies to prevent obesity-related complications.
Surprisingly, social isolation was found to be a stronger risk factor for all-cause mortality, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, than depression, anxiety, and lifestyle risk factors like alcohol consumption, exercise, and diet.