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“According to Roseto, walking together is better than walking alone” / John Drummond, Chairman, Corporate Culture

by on December 13, 2012 in Ireland, Latest News, London & South East, Media, Midlands, News you can use, Northern England, Nuggets, PR, Scotland, South West, Wales

Despite being within the grip of an economic crisis the British population seem to be, on the majority, in buoyant spirits according to an Office of National Statistics new study to measure well-being. Three quarters of the population rated their current lives as seven out of ten in terms of personal satisfaction levels.

It bears no surprise that if people live in a nice area, own a house, are in a stable relationship, are employed and enjoy good health the more satisfied they are with their life. There are also issues of causality between data; that is, does marriage make people happier, or is it that happier people are more likely to get married? Without pulling apart the data it’s difficult to know.

One interesting outcome of the data is the ability to plot the ‘happiest’ places in the UK. From the statistics it is clear that Eilean Siar, Orkney & Shetland are the happiest places to live, with over 80% of residents giving a score of 7 or higher, while London has the least happy citizens. When asked why those living in the former places were happy residents talked about their feeling of ‘belonging’ to the local community. A challenge to replicate through policy initiatives (as we’ve seen with the Big Society), but the introduction of 1,000 additional Co-op banks on the high street, among other initiatives, may help this.

A lot of people have questioned what the point of measuring ‘happiness’ and subsequent ‘belonging’ is; and how this will impact policy development? It may seem a frivolous use of public money; however, there is evidence that suggests that a happier person is a healthier person, which clearly is in the public’s interest. In Malcolm Gladstone’s recent book Outliers he starts by talking about a town called Roseto and the mystery of why its residents are less likely to die of illness compared to other neighbouring towns. The only reason scientists could determine was the simple fact that townsfolk, worked together, socialised together and looked out for one another.

And here is where the policy bods look up and take note, if a government can understand and replicate the causes of happiness within a free-market economy then preventive savings could be made to health and social costs. The ultimate sustainable health behaviour change campaign might therefore encourage a healthy 50-year-old to join their local walking club and provide free group membership to the National Trust.

According to Roseto, walking together is better than walking alone.

John Drummond, Chairman, Corporate Culture



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