American men are facing a health epidemic. It’s not smoking or obesity. It’s not heart disease. No, the greatest health issue facing American men today is loneliness and isolation. Boston Globe reporter Billy Baker details the all-too-familiar process. As we enter our adult years, work takes up more and more of our time. Then we get married and have kids. After running our homes, trying to stay in shape, and (for Christians) getting involved with the church, we have little time left for friendships with other guys. When we do find a bit of “free time,” it’s hard to leave our wives home alone to change diapers, correct homework, and broker peace deals among the warring children.
So, we let our male friendships slide. Baker found that over the past thirty-plus years, study after study has documented the unhappy consequences for our health. Lonely people are far more likely to die during a given period than their socially connected peers — even after accounting for age, gender, and other factors like healthy eating and exercise. In fact, socially isolated people have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and the progression of Alzheimer’s.
It gets worse. Another study determined that loneliness matched smoking as a long-term risk factor. In 2015, a massive study from BYU gathered data from 3.5 million people over 35 years, and found that those who are lonely, isolated, or merely living by themselves are 26% to 32% more likely to die prematurely.
No matter how you look at it, loneliness is a train wreck for our health.
My Story, Your Marriage
I was forty and friendless. But this was a crisis at least fifteen years in the making.
For years, my wife had been telling me that I needed other guys in my life. Read More at DesiringGod.org