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Loneliness Can Be Linked To A Person's Genes, New Study Suggests

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A new research suggests that loneliness is a silent epidemic that could stem from a person's genetics, it is also linked to obesity. The researchers of the study claim that losing weight could lessen the feeling of loneliness.

Loneliness Is Genetic

The scientists from the University of Cambridge discovered a link between being overweight and social isolation. The study is the first to find a link between obesity and loneliness and could give health experts more information on how to treat the two common conditions.

A latest national survey from healthcare provider Cigna found that half of Americans feel lonely and 54 percent feel that people don't understand them. In 2017, the American Psychology Association stated that loneliness was an epidemic and could possibly be deadlier than obesity.

The researchers from Cambridge examined over 400,000 participants who took a questionnaire about their loneliness, how often they interact with others, and the quality of their social lives.

Loneliness And Obesity

The scientists also studied the individuals who felt lonely and their DNA at 15 various genetic locations. The researchers noted that the genetic areas were the same for participants who were obese. It was linked to a particular area of the brain that is associated with emotional self-regulation.

The study also discovered that there are genes that make people more engaged in social activities. Certain 13 genetic variations were able to predict whether a person would go to a social club or bar at least once a week, and 18 genetic variations were linked to people being drawn to religious groups.

"There is always a complex mix of genes and environment, but it does suggest that at a population level if we could tackle obesity we would be able to bring down loneliness as well," lead scientist, John Perry, stated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that obesity can result from several contributing factors such as genetics and behavior. The behaviors can include physical activity, a person's diet, education, and environment. Obesity is a major health concern that can cause severe health issues including stroke, certain types of cancers, and diabetes.

Other health consequences from obesity also include lower quality life, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, high cholesterol, mental illness, and even death.

Health experts suggest that a person should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week.

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