The medical value of social interaction, social places

One way to understand the health benefits of community and human interaction is to look at the health risks of isolation. Isolation defined here is not the same as solitude where people live on their own and prefer seeing few friends contently, but rather when they feel they are cut off from people and don’t easily have someone to turn to.

A 1987 report in Science stated,Isolation is as significant to mortality rates as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and lack of physical exercise. For instance, smoking increases mortality risk by 1.6, while social isolation does so by a factor of 2.0. Some other findings:

– Isolated men are at greater risk than isolated men;
– Isolated men were 2-3 times more likely to die as men with close social ties;
– Isolated women were 1.5 times more likely to die as women with close social ties;

According to the best seller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ, the source of this entry, this men-women difference may be explained by evidence that women are more effective at building social relationships than men.

Which brings us to the value of creating places that facilitate social interaction, such as via third places, events and scenes, and an extraordinarily social interactive means of seeing these come to fruition; via crowdsourcing.

Read about more cool town health benefits here.

Image source: Long Street, South Africa by cliffsdepot.