Loneliness now considered a big risk in premature death

Texting and driving, heart disease and obesity are all scary things that can lead to premature death.

But, a new study reveals there's another threat out there that's even bigger than the threat of obesity.

An analysis out of Brigham Young University says loneliness and social isolation could increase the risk of premature death by almost 50 percent.

The study looked at previous studies involving nearly three and a half million adults. Research was presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

According to AARP, around 42 million adults over the age of 45 could be suffering from chronic loneliness. That's due to more and more people living alone, marrying less and having less children.

Medical News Today reports loneliness and social isolation are actually different. Loneliness is the feeling of being emotionally disconnected, while social isolation is an actual lack of contact with other people.

The study suggests that social connectedness should be used in medical screenings to catch symptoms of loneliness.

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