Health inSite: Community is the Key to Health

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Alternate title: Your friend’s friend makes you fat.

When it comes to your health, it’s important to realize that the decisions you make do not exist in a vacuum.  In fact, it may be even more the decision of your peer group than yourself as to what you eat, how you exercise, and what other habits and behaviors you engage in.  Recent studies have shown that your social network (and we’re not talking about facebook here, although that may be one depiction and/or part of your social network) has a greater impact on our overall health and well-being than we knew (or, in some cases, would like to think!).

An excellent, recent article posted by Mark Hyman, MD on the Huffington Post explains: “Much can be done with a little help from your friends.”  Creating a community around health topics, especially related to health behavior changes, can be critical to instituting new or better habits that have an impact on your total well-being.

At MINES, there are a couple of us that get together for lunch every day.  In the course of the meal, we may talk about the Broncos, the latest political debate, technology, and so on.  But one thing that we do every meal is discuss what we are eating.  We come together and discuss new recipes we’ve discovered and why we’ve chosen to eat as we have.  I recently (and at the time of this posting, currently) tried to eat only whole foods for a month.  This meant no salt, no sugar, no cheese, sweetening my coffee with honey, and very little pasta / bread.  It has been difficult to fully 180 turn around on a diet that had previously heavily relied on enriched cereal grains and pre-processed foods.  But, the reason I was able to make the shift, I believe, was that I was positively influenced by this group that was interested in, shared similar views on, and regularly engaged (daily) in the topic.  In behavioral health, we would say this created a support resource for treatment adherence.

Healthy behavior is not dependent on what payment models, medical technology, or other innovations come about in the healthcare debate.  We know that your friend’s friend has a great impact on what you do – and vice versa.

Today, you could:

  • Discover new friends
  • Decide to impact your friends
  • Ask for support from your friends
  • Be influenced by your friends

Today, make a decision about one habit that you want to change and find someone who wants to make that change with you (or even better, a group of people) and you’ll find yourself much more likely to achieve it.  If you’re not sure how to decide what changes to make or need some ideas on creating your own wellness plan, one of our Affiliates, Cecelia Keelin, recently hosted a ChooseWell webinar for MINES that might help.

To our health,

Ryan
Marketing

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