By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new research study from the University of Chicago shows that loneliness poses a significant health risk for older adults.

We’re just beginning to learn about how our mental health can impact our overall health.

A new report looked at over 2,000 people over the age of 50 and looked at whether they were lonely or not. What they found is those who were lonely are at increased risk for all sorts of health problems. In fact, loneliness may be twice as unhealthy as obesity for older people.

The study is interesting because it looks at things like heart disease, cancer, and all the psychological effects that are associated with loneliness and not having fulfilled relationships.

What it’s important about this study is that it says we need to work on our personal interactions with others and do what we can to try to expand our horizons and take the time to talk to other people because it can have positive health benefits.

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Dr. Brian McDonough