Community: Often Overlooked Cause of Good Health

A couple years ago I had the good fortune to meet Malcolm Gladwell at a Rotman Business School event and tell him how much I enjoyed his work. One of my favorite stories in Malcolm’s latest book entitled Outliers is about Roseto, Pennsylvania.  As it turns out, residents of Roseto were outliers in terms of their good health. A curious doctor set out to understand why.   After a methodical study he concluded that it wasn’t diet or exercise that mattered.   The reason Rosetans were living longer was the culture they lived in.  As Malcolm wrote:

In transplanting the paesani culture of southern Italy to the hills of eastern Pennsylvania the Rosetans had created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world. The Rosetans were healthy because of where they were from, because of the world they had created for themselves in their tiny little town in the hills.

“I remember going to Roseto for the first time, and you’d see three generational family meals, all the bakeries, the people walking up and down the street, sitting on their porches talking to each other, the blouse mills where the women worked during the day, while the men worked in the slate quarries,” Bruhn said. “It was magical.”

Thanks to The New York Times, you can read the wonderful story Malcolm wrote about Roseto, PA at this link.

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