Those of us involved in health communication are asked ad nauseum - where is the proof of impact? Of course there is loads of proof but still we get asked, mainly by policy makers and funders who come from a physical science background and orientation. So, lets add another strand to our impact data argument. One based on a simple premise.
Long life is an indicator of good health. If we can identify why people live longer then we will identify some key policy and strategy elements for overall health policy and resource allocation. Fair enough?
Welcome to Blue Zones (see the last section here as one example of reporting on this - the ethical stuff is fascinating also but we will come back to that!).
Seems that the key elements that are common across the parts of the world where people live the longest include many that are communication related or communication dependent:
- High quality food
- Physically-active lifestyles
- Prevailing attitude of collectivist rather than individualistic thinking
- Strong social cohesion
In most contexts you will need good communication processes related to food and active lifestyles in order to advance those vital elements of life where they do not naturally occur.
The processes by which there is a common, community, collective approach to life, that ensure good social cohesion are also communication dependent and centered - creation of space to address issues, dialogue and debate that includes all "voices" and, open and focused forms of social organisation and engagement.