In HumanaNatura’s natural health system, the fourth and final of our science-based health techniques is called Natural Communities. This health-critical practice begins with the idea that our social environment is essential to our health, and guides practitioners in the steps to either find or create a healthier community setting.
The science of healthy groups and communities, and the study of their important health and quality of life impacts, is quite broad – ranging from public health and city planning studies to management and political science research – making it difficult for health professionals and the general public to appreciate its full scope and importance. A new study by University of Chicago researchers is thus useful because it makes the power of place more tangible, and reminds us that we may naturally habituate to poor quality conditions and underestimate the power of community life on our health more generally.
The new study specifically investigated obesity and diabetes changes among families in poor U.S. neighborhoods who were given the opportunity to move to less poverty-prone areas in the 1990s. Some did so, while others did not, creating a natural experiment in the impact of relocation and background community quality. Ten years later, the research team found significant improvements in diabetes and obesity rates (of about 20%) among the group that had moved. This impact is reportedly about equal to the expected change from standard medical interventions, and the findings are important enough to warrant investigation of other health consequences in this group.
Do you want to consider the power of place in your life or more generally? Learn more about the new study at Change Your Neighborhood, Improve Your Health, and explore HumanaNatura’s guidelines for healthy communities via our unique and comprehensive Community Health Program.
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