PHOTO: Woman's Day
Technology has allowed people to be more connected than ever, but research shows rates of loneliness are skyrocketing in the digital age and could pose a huge health risk.
The findings, presented to the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, reveal loneliness could be a bigger threat to public health than obesity.
Astonishingly, other research has found it even rivals the risks of smoking.
Professor Julianne Holt-Lunstad, who conducted the investigation, believes the study sheds light on a worsening problem.
"Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a 'loneliness epidemic'," she said in a statement to Business Insider.
300,000 participants were involved in 148 studies which culminated in two meta-data analyses.
The analyses found a 50% reduction in the risk of early death for those with more frequent social interaction.