U.S. Surgeon General Wraps Successful Nationwide College Tour, Launches 5-for-5 Connection Challenge to the American Public
(Washington, DC) – Today, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is launching the 5-for-5 Connection Challenge, calling on Americans to take five actions over five days to build more connection in their lives. Dr. Murthy recently issued this challenge to students across the country on his “We Are Made to Connect” College Tour, which concluded just last week. Now, as we enter the holiday season, the 5-for-5 Connection Challenge aims to inspire people of all ages to build, strengthen, and prioritize their relationships.
For the next two weeks, from December 4th – December 15th, the Surgeon General will encourage people to take five actions over five days that express gratitude, offer support to, or ask for help from people in their lives. These types of actions are outlined in the Surgeon General’s Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness as some of the ways that people can catalyze social connection. As outlined in the Advisory, social connection can advance physical, mental, and cognitive health, and it is even associated with a decreased risk of mortality.
“Our relationships are foundational to our health and well-being, but nearly one in two adults experience measurable levels of loneliness. People across the country often tell me that they want to find tangible ways to better connect with the people in their lives, which is why I am issuing a national 5-for-5 Connection Challenge,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “The three types of actions for the challenge – expressing gratitude, offering support, and asking for help – can help deepen the relationships we have with others and strengthen our bonds. This holiday season, as we reflect on the year, I encourage everyone to participate!”
During his recent “We Are Made to Connect” College Tour, Dr. Murthy issued the 5-for-5 Connection Challenge to college students across the country. Young people face surprisingly high rates of loneliness. Recent studies show that rates of loneliness among young adults have increased every year between 1976 and 2019, and in 2021, young adults were almost twice as likely to report feeling lonely as those over the age of 65. During his college tour, Dr. Murthy spoke with notable partners about the importance of incorporating moments of connection into their daily lives to help improve health and well-being.
Below is a list of schools Dr. Murthy visited and conversation partners he spoke with during the “We Are Made to Connect” Tour:
- October 25: Duke University (Durham, NC) with Writer and Podcast Host Kate Bowler and Duke Basketball Coach Jon Scheyer
- November 3: University of Washington (Seattle, WA) with Mental Health Advocate Lily Cornell Silver
- November 8: University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX) with Academy Award-Winning Actor Matthew McConaughey
- November 13: Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ) with Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles
- November 27: Barclays Center/Social Justice Fund (Brooklyn, NY) with Grammy and Academy Award-Winning Artist Jon Batiste
- November 28: Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) with President and Co-Founder of Born This Way Foundation Cynthia Germanotta
- November 28: Camden County College (Blackwood, NJ) with Actor Daniel Ezra
- November 29: Hampton University (Hampton, VA) with Actor and Mental Health Advocate Da’Vinchi
Earlier this year, Dr. Murthy released the Surgeon General’s Advisory on Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, which warns of the profound mental and physical health risks that social disconnection poses, and the widespread nature of the issue. Poor or insufficient social connection is associated with increased risk of disease, including a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke. Chronic loneliness can increase the risk of developing dementia by approximately 50% in older adults, even after controlling for demographics and health status. The odds of developing depression are more than double among adults who report feeling lonely often, compared to those who rarely or never feel lonely.