When I read the statistic, I wanted to cry. I remember what it felt like to be overweight, but I never considered ending my life as the solution.
According to a study by researcher Brene Brown, the single largest group of high school teenagers considering or attempting suicide are teenage girls who feel they are overweight. Were they obese because they were lonely or were they lonely because they were obese? Doesn’t matter, does it?
Despite all of the connection on Facebook and social media, loneliness is on the increase. Loneliness is now proved to be connected to health problems.
The survey, conducted by Cigna, the health insurer , found widespread loneliness, with nearly half of Americans reporting they feel alone, isolated, or left out at least some of the time. The nation’s 75 million millennials (ages 23-27) and Generation Z adults (18-22) are lonelier than any other U.S. demographic and report being in worse health than older generations.
In addition, 54% of respondents said they feel no one knows them well, and four in 10 reported they “lack companionship,” their “relationships aren’t meaningful” and they are “isolated from others.”
The loneliness problem has become an “epidemic” and now is impacting mortality more than risks from tobacco and obesity, says Douglas Nemecek, MD, Cigna’s chief medical officer for behavioral health.
“Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity,” according to his report.
I truly believe there is a connection. All the more reason I chose FP4H, not just as a weight loss plan but as a way of life. One of our commitments as a member of a class is to make connection with your classmates in a meaningful way. It is a special thing to know that someone cares. Authentic friendships are hard to find. Just this week I received an email asking how my doctor visit went regarding my knees. My prayer partner for the week wanted to FaceTime me so we could pray together. She is six hours ahead of me in Poland but it was important to her to see my face.
We had so many emails, phone calls and text messages asking about Helen Baratta’s safety during the volcano eruption, she finally posted something on Facebook to let everyone know she and Vince are safe. Who does this kind of thing? A First Place 4 Health family!
Jesus said it perfectly, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:12-15 NIV
Does this sound like the kind of friend you need? God has these kinds of friends for you. Your loneliness nor your obesity goes unseen by Him. He cares. I cannot do life without my FP4H family. I see evidence of caring for each other in amazing ways. Occasionally, I will receive an email from a leader letting me know something hard going on in the life of a class member. I don’t even know this person, but leaders care enough to ask for prayer.
Thank you each one of you who have taken the time to call a friend, send a card or just show up at the door. I know life is busy and sometimes we just don’t make the time to follow through on our good intentions. This is important stuff. One connection has the power to change a life.
Be a friend today. Make the call, send the card, walk across the room.
First Place 4 Health National Director, American Council on Exercise, Certified Fitness Instructor, Certified Life Coach and Wellness Coordinator for her church in Edisto Beach, SC. Vicki is author of Don’t Quit Get Fit and Wellness Journey of a Lifetime. She has led a successful First Place 4 Health ministry in her church for twenty years. https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20180504/loneliness-rivals-obesity-smoking-as-health-risk?  https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20180504/loneliness-rivals-obesity-smoking-as-health-risk?