NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Tivity Health® /zigman2/quotes/200231910/composite TVTY +2.61% , a leading provider of nutrition, fitness and social engagement solutions, and the parent company of SilverSneakers [®] , which offers health, wellness and social connectivity to seniors at more than 16,000 locations nationwide, has declared senior isolation and loneliness a corporate priority for 2020, tackling a growing epidemic that affects millions of Americans and puts them at risk of poor health and premature death. As part of a holiday campaign, Tivity Health is challenging Americans to start confronting social isolation by asking others a simple question, "Are you lonely?" This video campaign will be distributed broadly to customers and partners of its leading brands, including SilverSneakers, Nutrisystem [®] and South Beach Diet [®] as well as via social media.
"When our seniors are isolated and lonely, the health consequences are severe. Tivity Health has been sounding the warning of social isolation as an epidemic, but we've seen that loneliness is becoming more prevalent, urgent and widespread, affecting millions of Americans, particularly seniors," said Tivity Health CEO, Donato J. Tramuto. "As a company committed to helping people live longer and better, Tivity Health is declaring 2020 the year that we take on social isolation and loneliness and end its terrible effects on our friends, family members, neighbors and communities. Just as Tivity Health is a leader in engaging seniors in healthier behaviors, so are we a leader in directing our expertise, resources and energy as a company to find solutions that make our communities stronger, healthier and more vibrant."
Loneliness affects 25 percent to 60 percent of older Americans and puts millions of Americans age 50 and older at risk of poor health from prolonged loneliness. It increases the risk of premature death by up to 50 percent, affecting both physical and mental health.
Tivity Health recently announced the 2020 Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging, to be held in Nashville, Tenn., in September. The theme will be Ending Loneliness and Building Connections in a Digital Age, with a focus on empowering older Americans, particularly in rural areas, to age with dignity and vitality. The summit aims to address this crisis collaboratively, across sectors, with communities and companies coming together to increase social connections to improve health.
Tivity Health was one of the first companies to call out loneliness as a national epidemic and for the last three years, Tivity Health has convened a range of stakeholders to identify ways to promote social connectedness to combat isolation and loneliness through the annual Connectivity Summit on Rural Aging. These events drew from experts in government, academia, consumers, industry and advocacy groups, as well as leaders in the corporate world. Each year, attendees voiced a need for a national public awareness effort on this important issue.
"Social isolation has been under recognized and is a significant public health challenge, confronting seniors and the overall population. Lacking social connection carries a risk equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and is a significant cost to our healthcare system. To adequately address this issue we need to enlist professionals, communities, and a variety of stakeholders." said Dr. Julianne-Holt-Lunstad, a nationally-recognized loneliness researcher and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.
Tivity Health's new holiday initiative, to be launched this December, raises awareness of senior isolation and loneliness and encourages people to help those in need.
"If you have a relative, friend or neighbor who lives alone or may be lonely, take a few minutes to reach out to them this holiday season. Start your conversation with them by inviting them to tell their story. This small action may make an important difference in their day – and in yours," Tramuto added.
About Tivity Health, Inc. Tivity Health [®] is a leading provider of healthy life-changing solutions, including SilverSneakers [®] , Nutrisystem [®] , Prime [®] Fitness, Wisely Well [™] , South Beach Diet [®] and WholeHealth Living [®] . We are actively addressing the social determinants of health, defined as the conditions in which we work, live and play. From improving health outcomes to reversing the narrative on inactivity, food insecurity, social isolation and loneliness, we are making a difference and are transforming the way we do health. We are also proud to host an annual Connectivity Summit that brings together stakeholders from all over the United States to discuss and create opportunities for older adults to live their best healthy lives. Learn more at TivityHealth.com .
Key Statistics About Social Isolation
47.8 million people over the age of 45 are lonely, an increase of five million people from eight years ago, according to the AARP Foundation . Of this population, 41 percent "say feelings of loneliness and isolation have persisted for six years or more, while 31 percent indicate they have felt lonely for one to five years, and 26 percent for up to a year — also unchanged from 2010."
The federal government spends $6.2 billion annually on social isolation related care for older adults, according to The National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation .
Loneliness has an equivalent risk factor to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, shortening one's lifespan by eight years, the NIHCM Foundation revealed.
People who suffer from loneliness have a 29 percent higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and a 32 percent increase in stroke, according to a NIHCM presentation that referenced findings from , a British medical journal that specializes in cardiology.
Social isolation disproportionately affects people who have low income. "Nearly half of midlife and older adults with annual incomes of less than $25,000 report being lonely," the AARP Foundation reported.
SOURCE Tivity Health, Inc.
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