Solving the Hidden Disease That’s as Bad as 15 Cigarettes a Day

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Why you should care

Former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has seen growing numbers of people who suffer from chronic loneliness, and here’s his prescription.

All the Lonely People: This OZY series looks at the alarming epidemic of loneliness.All the Lonely People: This original OZY series takes a hard look at the alarming epidemic of loneliness.

“Loneliness is incredibly common,” former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told the crowd at this year’s OZY Fest in New York City. But did you know that it’s not older folks who are suffering most? It’s actually young people who are grappling with the highest rates of loneliness — despite being more digitally connected than ever before.

Experts agree that we’re facing a loneliness epidemic, one that has profound consequences for our physical health, our longevity and our overall well-being. But where others emphasize the scale and seriousness of this looming crisis, Murthy offers an encouraging message: Yes, loneliness is a pervasive problem worldwide, but there is a simple and actionable solution.

Remedying loneliness doesn’t involve popping expensive pills or high-tech gadgetry. But it does require each of us to talk about the problem, open up a space for building meaningful connections and recognize that those connections are key to our survival.

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