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A new study found that post-millennials are the loneliest generation.

The research was conducted by health insurance company Cigna, who surveyed 20,000 Americans 18 years and older.

The youngest group, those between the ages of 18 and 22, reported feeling more left out than older generations – including those over the age of 72.

Dubbed ‘Generation Z’, these young people had a loneliness score of 38, compared to the American average of 44, which looked at the ages 20 to 80.

In addition, almost half of Americans surveyed – 46 per cent – reported feeling alone sometimes or always, and one in four believe nobody understands them.

The report says the reason for this is to do with the lack of physical connections – half of respondents who never have ‘in-person interactions’ are in fair or poor overall health, compared to just 12 per cent who have daily in-person interactions.

Cigna president and CEO David Cordani said:

We must change this trend by reframing the conversation to be about ‘mental wellness’ and ‘vitality’ to speak to our mental-physical connection. When the mind and body are treated as one, we see powerful results.

Billions of people across the world have access to and use social media accounts, making contemporary society the most connected it has ever been. And yet, a loneliness epidemic is sweeping across parts of the world.

The finding feeds into existing bodies of research about this epidemic.

Office for National Statistics figures show that 2.4 million people in the UK are chronically lonely. This can raise levels of stress hormones and inflammation, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease, arthritis, type two diabetes and dementia.

Social isolation has been linked to worse mental and physical health, and people who report not having any important social circles were six times more likely to be a frequent user of GP services, than those who have three or more social groups.

The issue of loneliness is so dire that Tracey Crouch was recently appointed England’s first ever ‘minister for loneliness’ in an effort to help tackle to the problem.

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