WHO deems loneliness a 'pressing health threat'

The World Health Organization is elevating loneliness as a "pressing health threat" and organizing leadership to drive evidence-based solutions at a global level.

WHO's newly launched Commission on Social Connection is made up of 11 policymakers and subject matter experts and co-chaired by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD. The three-year committee will study the role of social connection in the health of people of all ages and outline solutions to bolster social ties at scale.

"Given the profound health and societal consequences of loneliness and isolation, we have an obligation to make the same investments in rebuilding the social fabric of society that we have made in addressing other global health concerns, such as tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis," said Dr. Murthy. 

In May, Dr. Murthy released an advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in the U.S. Approximately half of U.S. adults reported experiencing measurable levels of loneliness even before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The committee's first major output will be a flagship report released by the mid-point of its three-year run. 

"Contrary to the perception that isolation and loneliness primarily affect older people in high-income countries, they impact the health and well-being of all age groups across the world," the WHO said in its announcement of the committee. "One in four older people experience social isolation and the rates are broadly similar in all regions. Among adolescents, between 5­­–15% experience loneliness, according to research findings. However, these figures are likely to be underestimations." 


Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars