The Health Risk Equivalent To Puffing 15 Cigarettes A Day

Serious public health problem emerging

20 September 2018

Article heading image for The Health Risk Equivalent To Puffing 15 Cigarettes A Day

Experts have said that loneliness is a condition which can be as detrimental to our health as puffing 15 cigarettes a day.

And now it has been revealed that the silent but chronic health condition is now impacting as many as one in 10 Aussies.

The biggest sufferers are young men, with almost 40 per cent of young fathers reporting a lack of social support.

Furthermore, over 40 per cent have reported emotional loneliness.

The research looks at several different means of scale, including the number of connections forged and whether one is well socially connected.

"We're a mobile population. We don't live very long in any one home," Relationships Australia National Executive Officer Alison Brook told the Hit Newsroom.

"We're often out at work and we don't pay attention to what's happening in our neighbourhood, and we're not looking out for the vulnerable who are living around us. Modern living makes us more susceptible to loneliness."

The seriousness of the issue has been further explained using other prevalent societal issues as comparison - and the results are startling.

"Loneliness is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It's the equivalent public health issue of obesity and diabetes, and it can truncate your life. It is a serious public health issue," Ms Brook said.

"The next part of our research is going to drill down into what happened in the years leading up to the loneliness - if we can see a cause and effect. This extra information might be able to lead to policy changes."

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