NYTimes: Power of Positive People

This is perfectly aligned with what I’ve been thinking recently. This combines ideas from a couple of books we’ve been reading: Nudge by Richard Thaler (a future book review), and another book on my to-read shelf: Connected, by Nicholas Christakis.

Nudge talks about how small changes in our environment, often something we can design or control, can subtly shift our behavior in either desirable or unintended directions, eg: a public school cafeteria can dramatically influence student food choices by the positioning of the food (eye level? early in the line, or late?).

Connected discusses in more detail, the idea that not only direct relationships (immediate family members, close friends), but friends of friends, AND EVEN friends of friends of friends, have some influence over our own health, eg: the NEJM research study that showed that YOUR likelihood of obesity is related to the obesity of those who are THREE relationships away from you. Wow.

And now, positive friend relationships (described as MOAI in this article, from Okinawa, Japan, with the longest-lived women, expectancy of about 90) have everything to do with long term health. I’ll leave you to read.

CMIO’s take? There are SO MANY THINGS outside of direct-healthcare that influence our health, our lives, and we are just beginning to explore them. How are you thinking about this in your healthcare organization?

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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