Happiness and healthiness are contagious

One of the more interesting results of the Framingham Heart Study: happiness and healthiness are contagious:

"two years ago, a pair of social scientists named Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler used the information collected over the years about Joseph and Eileen and several thousand of their neighbors to make an entirely different kind of discovery. By analyzing the Framingham data, Christakis and Fowler say, they have for the first time found some solid basis for a potentially powerful theory in epidemiology: that good behaviors — like quitting smoking or staying slender or being happy — pass from friend to friend almost as if they were contagious viruses..."

"The Framingham participants, the data suggested, influenced one another’s health just by socializing. And the same was true of bad behaviors — clusters of friends appeared to “infect” each other with obesity, unhappiness and smoking. Staying healthy isn’t just a matter of your genes and your diet, it seems. Good health is also a product, in part, of your sheer proximity to other healthy people. By keeping in close, regular contact with other healthy friends for decades, Eileen and Joseph had quite possibly kept themselves alive and thriving. And by doing precisely the opposite, the lone obese man hadn’t."

Puts all those lectures your parents gave you about hanging around with the right people in perspective. It also makes me think of that Woody Allen movie Zelig... we are all Zeligs, to one degree or another. And if we make good choices about who we hang around, their good behaviors can positively influence us.

Unfortunately, I like hanging around with other computer nerds playing LAN games and eating pizza all night. Hmmm. Maybe I need to start Team in Training again.

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