For a long time, scientists have seen the connection between the social interactions an individual has and how long they live.
The oversimplified version goes like this:
The more isolated a person is, the shorter their lifespan is likely to be.
People with longer lifespans tend to be more active in the community, their church and other organizations. In addition, married people tend to live longer as well. Again, emphasizing the social factor.
Humans are highly social creatures.
What is NOT known is this…
What exactly does a ‘healthy community’ look like?
Since the community in which we live is directly involved in our well-being, research was conducted to determine the specific factors a ‘healthy community’ displayed.
In a far reaching collaborative study involving over 300,000 adults, a team lead by Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Brita Roy looked at pinning down these factors.
She said, “These 12 factors accounted for more than 90% of the variation we see in well-being.
Here they are:
Factors found in communities with higher well-being included:
(My note: I found this list REALLY fascinating!)
- More black residents.
- Lower rates of child poverty.
- Fewer people with less than a high school diploma.
- Fewer people with a high school diploma/GED.
- More people with a college degree.
- A higher average household income.
- Fewer divorced people.
- More eligible women obtaining mammography.
- Lower rates of preventable hospitalizations.
- Fewer federally qualified health centers.
- More people commuting by bicycle.
- Fewer people commuting by public transit.
How does racial make-up impact well-being? Prior studies have shown that more diversity generally leads to more tolerance in the community and less overall stress and worry.”
Two factors Roy expected to see on the list that didn’t make it were crime rates and income inequality.
Now that is has been proven that your community impacts your health and well-being, I think it’s worth a few minutes of time to pause as see how well your community does with this list.
What do you believe is missing in your community makeup?
Of these 12 factors, how many do you feel your community meets or exceeds?
My other point?
If you or someone you know is becoming increasingly isolated, I hope you will take the initiative to reach out and make an impact in that person’s life!
Stay strong. Stay resilient.