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Rural Nebraska health — the X Factor!
by Michelle McCormick
In rural Nebraska, we enjoy a level of health which, if put to the test, would rival that of the healthiest cities/states/nations in the world. Fact or proud boast? We'll let you decide.
Nebraska Rural Living has already detailed the excellence we enjoy in health care providers and hospital services, so I don't need to revisit that. What I will address is what I call the "Health X Factor." What is that extra something that sustains us when we're not ill or injured? The World Health Organization defined it for us in 1948:
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
Ahhhh....the X Factor. Some might argue that the examples of physical, mental, and social well-being found in our digital story are typical of city dwellers as well. True, but not true. There is a significant difference. City folks have to drive a great distance to enjoy microcosms of healthy living, and are mostly surrounded by people they don't know or care about, or worse: anxiously mistrust.
In rural Nebraska, we are constantly surrounded by familiar people, who may or may not be personal friends, but whom we know nonetheless. Families, jobs, successes and nonsuccesses, trials and tribulations....we know the stories. And because we know, we can't help but care about the people behind them. This creates a deep sense of belonging and community cities rarely duplicate.
That is why, no matter who you pass on the street, you WILL receive eye contact and a smile. In a car , you'll get a wave. On some level, that's like getting 50 hugs a day. If that doesn't promote better health, I don't know what does.
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