Healthy Lifestyle Arena


Health Risk More Hazardous than Obesity

August 10
11:42 2017

One of the curses of today’s culture and growing older is gaining weight. So many women are thin their entire lives until after they have kids and if still thin then, menopause hits and on comes the pounds. Part of the weight gain is due to a change in hormone levels, some of it due to a slower lifestyle and some of it is due to enjoying some of the food and drinks you couldn’t afford when the house was full of kids.

No matter where you turn in the medical or health world, you are bombarded with the health concerns related to putting on those extra pounds. Those extra pounds are linked to increased risks of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, possibly liver and kidney disease as well other dangerous health conditions.

The emphasis on the health concerns of being overweight is what drives diet programs like Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem and other programs that make millions of dollars off of women and men like many of you. Gyms and fitness centers also make millions trying to help people lose those extra pounds. Just watch all of the commercials on television about the different diet programs, exercise equipment and gym memberships and you’ll be convinced that obesity and being overweight is the greatest health concern facing our nation.

While obesity and being overweight is one of the nation’s greatest health concerns, a new report lists something you probably never considered as being an even greater risk:

“Loneliness and social isolation may represent a greater public health hazard than obesity, and their impact has been growing and will continue to grow, according to research presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.”

“‘Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need—crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,’ said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. ‘Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly’.”

“Approximately 42.6 million adults over age 45 in the United States are estimated to be suffering from chronic loneliness, according to AARP’s Loneliness Study. In addition, the most recent U.S. census data shows more than a quarter of the population lives alone, more than half of the population is unmarried and, since the previous census, marriage rates and the number of children per household have declined…”

“‘There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,’ said Holt-Lunstad. ‘With an increasing aging population, the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase. Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’  The challenge we face now is what can be done about it’.”

This latest study supports what many of us have witnessed in our own families and the families of others. Once one spouse dies, it’s not uncommon for the other spouse to die soon after. We often attribute it to their losing their purpose for living.

For the last 5 years of my dad’s life, his health declined to the point where he needed my mom to help care for him. Dad was 92 when he died. Afterwards, my mom said that his passing took a great burden off her shoulders, physically and emotionally. Not long after, her health began to rapidly decline and she died less than 10 months after my dad died.

How many times have we seen this with couples who have been married most of their lives? When by dad died, they had been married 4 months shy of their 70th wedding anniversary.

This supports a couple of previous posts on this site.

On May 4, 2017, we shared that social media and contact with family and friends can be extremely beneficial when grieving the loss of a loved one.

On June 27, 2017, we share how having loving and supportive kids, even adult kids, can help lower the risk of someone developing dementia.

This helps support a famous Scripture verse, found in Genesis 2:18:

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;”

That goes for man or woman. It is not good to be alone.

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HLA Staff

HLA Staff

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