New research out of the United States shows loneliness may be a risk factor for early death and a bigger killer than obesity.
University of Chicago neuroscientist and psychologist John Cacioppo’s report titled Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connections, found being lonely isn't only about being unhappy, it's also unsafe and bad for our health.
The study found people who reported feeling alone were 14 per cent more likely to die during the six-year study period.
This compared with a seven per cent rise in mortality risk for obese people, which was found in previous research.
The research studied more than 2000 retired adults aged over 50 years.
"Loneliness is a risk factor for early death beyond what can be explained by poor health behaviours," said John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.
Helpful information on loneliness and isolation, along with ways to seek help, can be found through Lifeline. Find out more here.