Cutting Social Isolation, Loneliness May Lower Mortality in People With Obesity

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Authors say findings support efforts to improve social isolation, loneliness

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 24, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Improving social isolation and loneliness may attenuate excess obesity-related mortality risk, according to a study published online Jan. 22 in JAMA Network Open.

Jian Zhou, M.D., from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues investigated whether improvement of social isolation or loneliness is associated with a lower obesity-related excess risk for mortality. The analysis included data from 398,972 participants in the U.K. Biobank with follow-up from March 2006 to November 2021.

The researchers found that compared with participants with obesity and an index of ≥2 for social isolation, risk for all-cause mortality was lower for participants with obesity and a social isolation index of 1 and 0. A similar trend was seen when comparing participants with obesity and a loneliness index of 1 and 0 with those with an index of 2 for loneliness. Risk for all-cause mortality decreased as the index of social isolation and loneliness went from highest to lowest in people with obesity versus people without obesity (hazard ratios decreased by 36 and 9 percent, respectively). Social isolation was ranked higher than loneliness, depression, anxiety, and lifestyle-related risk factors (e.g., alcohol, physical activity, and healthy diet) for estimating the risks for all-cause, cancer-related, and cardiovascular disease-related mortality.

“These findings support the improvement of social isolation and loneliness in people with obesity to decrease obesity-related excess risk of mortality,” the authors write.

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