One of the most interesting finds that elucidate the role of community on human health and longevity.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers, mentions about this study. Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian born writer, worked for The New Yorker, has written many bestselling books.
The Roseto story
Roseto was a town near Rome in Italy where most of its earnings were derived from mining and quarrying activities. Since it was not profitable and arduous, its inhabitants were looking for a better place to settle down.
Around 1882 gradually people from Roseto started migrating to the US, especially to Pennsylvania. Situated near Pennsylvania close to Bangor town. Gradually after many came, they named the settlement as Roseto as most came from there only. Soon the place got developed and became a town.
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What was so special about the Roseto town near Bangor, Pennsylvania?
Stewart Wolf, a physician who taught in the University of Oklahoma, is essentially one who brought Roseto to notice. When talking to a local doctor he got to know that there was not even single case of a heart attack in Roseto. This came at a time in the 1950s when the heart attack was an epidemic in the US.
Interested in studying about the phenomenon, Wolf set up a team to understand what was going on. On studying the medical history of Roseto people they found out no cases of heart attack and overall all death rate to be 35 percent lower than death rate than the national average.
Moreover, it was observed that the community of Roseto had very little crime rate, no alcoholism and drug addictions. Looking for answers Wolf looked at their diet, genealogy, and habits.
The best found that some were obese, some smoked, other natives who settled in other parts of US were showing no anomaly. Only the people living near Bangor town in Roseto were living longer than everyone else.
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Then, what was the reason behind such a phenomenon?
With help of Bruhn, Wolf observed that Roseto was essentially a community. Since almost all of its members were migrants from Roseto town of Italy, the cultural ethos remained the same. The community was largely egalitarian.
People preferred living a joint family, three generations living under one roof. Community discourages wealthy from flaunting and helped those who were facing setbacks.
Not hard to imagined people from the town were convivial towards one another and maintained good relations with other. These were the reasons why they lived longer.
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Inferences you can draw
Community building promotes longevity and general happiness if based on sound ethos and beliefs which takes care of both who are at advantage and those with a disadvantage. We must talk, share and communicate with those around us. Build on healthier relationships to promote our own good and that of others.
In the age of privacy, we can use this to understand and rework our beliefs and ethics to better build a community based on sound principles as the way one sees it makes us live longer.