How Betr is battling loneliness and why it matters for your health!
“Health” is measured in many different ways.
A chronic disease might be measured by glucose levels, blood pressure, and weight.
Other symptoms like pain, confusion, or fatigue can also determine and identify health issues.
We’re going to focus on one symptom that’s difficult to measure but one which we all suffer from at one time or another.
That symptom is loneliness, and you may be surprised to hear that it’s a significant predictor of adverse health outcomes.
The Meaning of Being Lonely
Even though we know it when we see it, loneliness is a tricky concept to define.
Being “alone” doesn’t mean that we’re lonely. In fact, for most of us, being alone is good (sometimes, at least).
On the flip side, you can have hundreds of friends and a packed social calendar and still feel lonely.
Loneliness is primarily an individual experience. The easiest way to define loneliness is to say that a person’s social needs aren’t being met.
Often, but not always, loneliness is related to social isolation. Social isolation is a little easier to pin down than loneliness. It means that a person doesn’t interact with many people.
The big difference between loneliness and social isolation is that social isolation is related to the number of relationships a person has. In contrast, loneliness is associated with the quality of someone’s relationships.
That’s why someone with a hundred acquaintances might feel lonely, while someone with just one or two very close friends doesn’t.
Why all this talk of loneliness, though?
Because it matters. Loneliness has real, measurable effects on our wallets and our health.
Loneliness is a concept that’s defined differently by different people, but it usually relates to social connection and the quality of an individual’s relationship. The easiest way to define it is that loneliness occurs when an individual’s social needs are not being met.
The Cost of Loneliness
Here’s a shocking statistic. A white paper by the healthcare insurance company Cigna reported that 61% of American workers surveyed say they’re lonely. That’s over 97 million people.
For various reasons, loneliness results in more missed work days, costing employers and employees money. How much money? An estimated 406 BILLION dollars!
But money isn’t the most important thing.
What is really concerning is how loneliness affects individuals and their health. It might seem obvious that lonely people experience an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide, but they are also at a higher risk for serious physical health effects.
The CDC reports that loneliness is associated with:
- A 50% increased risk of dementia
- A 29% increased risk of heart disease
- A 32% increased risk of stroke
That report also showed that heart failure patients who experienced loneliness were four times as likely to die from their disease. These individuals also had a 68% higher risk of hospitalization and a 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
One of the major contributing factors to this increase in adverse health outcomes is that loneliness increases stress and changes how people think and behave. Researchers have found that lonely individuals are less likely to engage in activities beneficial to their health. They also are more likely to suffer from significant stress and less likely to believe that they can change unhealthy habits or behaviors.
The CDC report goes so far as to compare the harmful effects of loneliness with smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle (also behaviors that lonely individuals are more likely to participate in).
The point is that loneliness has significant, harmful, real-world effects. So what can we do about it?
Loneliness and lack of meaningful social contact are related to significant healthcare costs and significant negative health impacts on the lonely individual.
Getting Betr Together
A fundamental approach to combatting the harmful effects of loneliness is to get people connected. Engaging in a supportive community can reduce social isolation and feelings of loneliness and improve psychological and behavioral tendencies toward poor health.
If that supportive community can also help an individual reverse inflammation, decrease stress, lose weight, and heal symptoms of chronic disease, that would also be a major bonus, right? That’s precisely the kind of community experience that the Betr program offers!
In addition to using food as medicine to reverse the physical effects of inflammation, stress, and poor health, Betr connects our members with a positive, supportive community. The Betr community is available 24/7 to support, encourage and inspire. Our members know that they aren’t on this journey alone and that thousands of other people just like them have their back and want the best for them.
In addition to the community support, Betr members are assigned a trained health coach. Our coaches get to know members and can provide insight into individual members’ lifestyles, challenges, and habits. Coaches also provide a point of accountability, letting members know that a specific “someone” cares about their success!
Betr fosters a sense of community and support through our group calls, one-on-one coaching, and community resources. We believe the only way to do Betr is together!
The Last Word on Loneliness
Betr isn’t a diet or gimmick…it’s a community and movement. If you feel isolated, lonely, and unable to find a reason to change, let us help! We want to be part of your journey.
If you remember anything from this article, remember that:
- Loneliness is a concept that’s defined differently by different people, but it usually relates to social connection and the quality of an individual’s relationship. The easiest way to define it is that loneliness occurs when an individual’s social needs are not being met.
- Loneliness and lack of meaningful social contact are related to significant healthcare costs and significant negative health impacts on the lonely individual.
- Betr fosters a sense of community and support through our group calls, one-on-one coaching, and community resources. We believe the only way to do Betr is together!
We’ve seen lives changed through the healing power of food as medicine. We’ve seen years of chronic disease reversed through nourishment. We’ve seen members realize goals that they never thought were possible.
And we’ve shared these countless successes as a community.
You deserve Betr! And we can get Betr Together!
After reading this article, you may be asking yourself if your own health hurdles could be related to an unhealthy gut.
Explore Betr's risk-free trial to see if you could benefit from using food as medicine to rebuild your microbiome and realize the healthy potential you never knew you were missing!