Study finds many Americans feel lonely

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Getty Images

Health insurance company Cigna surveyed 20,000 Americans ages 18 years and older between February 21 and March 6 and found that it's the youngest group, ages 18- 22, who felt more left out than older generations - including seniors ages 72 and older.

A new study finds people 18-37 years of age are the loneliest and they claim to be in worse health than older generations.

More than half of the people surveyed in the 18-24 demographic - members of Generation Z - identified with 10 of the 11 feelings linked to loneliness, while over 90% of people older than 72 years reported that they felt close to others, having people to converse with and feeling "in tune with others".

More than a quarter feel they have no one in their life that understands them, and 43 percent feel their relationships aren't meaningful.

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The UCLA Loneliness Scale is a frequently referenced and acknowledged academic measure used to gauge loneliness.

Chief Executive of Cigna David Cordani said he was surprised by the results and noted that social isolation potentially affects health. "Oftentimes, medical symptoms present themselves and they're correlated with mental, lifestyle issues like loneliness".

Lonesomeness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day - making it more risky than obesity.

If their sense of health and well-being is more positive, then less destructive activities transpire.
Another surprising finding was that young adults with the highest rates of social media use said they had similar feelings of loneliness compared to those who were barely on social media.

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