Loneliness poses a significant global health threat, affecting both the elderly and young people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO revealed that social isolation, characterized by insufficient social connections and the associated loneliness, has far-reaching consequences for mental and physical well-being. Contrary to common belief, these issues extend beyond older individuals in high-income countries, impacting people of all ages globally.
It affects people of all ages, with approximately one in four older individuals and five to fifteen percent of adolescents experiencing social isolation.
The Commission, co-chaired by US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and African Union Youth Envoy Chido Mpemba, will analyze the crucial role social connection plays in health and propose scalable solutions. It will explore how fostering social connections contributes to community well-being, societal development, economic progress, and innovation.
The Commission’s work is crucial, as studies have shown that the lack of social connection carries a risk of early death equivalent to or greater than other well-known risk factors. Social isolation is also linked to a 30 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Commission’s inaugural leadership-level meeting will be held from December 6 to 8, marking a significant step toward addressing this global health priority.