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Old World Values = Long and Healthy Lives?

Old World Values = Long and Healthy Lives?

From time to time researchers come up with reasons (their opinions) why certain (often isolated) communities live to ripe old ages whilst maintaining excellent health.

There are many examples of this throughout the world.  For example, the Okinawans on an island in northern Japan, the Hunza's in Asia, and certain areas of Georgia in Europe and so on.

Researchers speculate on the cause of the longevity and health of these populations. For example, in Okinawa it is the high intake of coral calcium, for the Hunza’s the water they drink, in Georgia the berries they eat and so on.

Some long lived people in the western world put their good health down to a cigar a day, maybe a glass of wine and all manner of other things.

But, there is one important area that researchers overlook in their quest for the 'fountain of youth' and that is the value of inner peace, lack of stress, family values and of course attitude.

This is because these cannot be measured.  Science has a tendency to overlook things that cannot be proved.  Bit like the double blind placebo clinical study.  If something doesn’t have a study supporting an assertion then it tends to be dismissed.  Examples of this pop up every day in natural medicine.

Oh, with regard to these 'double blind placebo clinical studies' I will be doing a series of blog articles about these soon which will shock you.  They are not as reliable or as accurate as we have all been led to believe…in fact, hardly any of them are.  I will give you some evidence shortly supporting that position.

Anyway, back to what prompted this article.

A friend emailed me a commentary on a book about the residents of a small community in the US whose health is significantly better than normal for the US.  The authors of this book concluded that it was the family relationships and community in general that played a large part in the quality of health. In other words, supporting the comments above but in this case is something to measure it against.

This is a summary of the book:  (I have not read it myself and it is not my summary)

Roseto is a small Italian-American community in east-central Pennsylvania. This fifteen-year study drawing on medical histories, physical examinations, and laboratory tests, compared a large sample of Rosetans to inhabitants of two neighboring communities, Bangor and Nazareth, and followed up this research with a sociological study of the three communities.

Despite a greater prevalence of obesity in Roseto, and despite similar dietary, smoking, and exercise habits and similar ethnic and genetic background, the inhabitants of Roseto were relatively immune to heart disease at the beginning of the research in 1963. They were also strikingly tenacious in adhering to Old World values and customs. Family relationships were very close and mutually supportive, and this cohesive quality extended to neighbors and to the community as a whole. When these traditional values and relationships were abandoned by the rising generation, the death rate from heart disease climbed toward the American norm. The study concluded that unconditional interpersonal support counteracts life stress and thus preserves life.

Here is the link to the book: "The Roseto Story: An Anatomy of Health" (by John G. Bruhn and Stewart Wolf)

Comments  (4)

  • Jim
    December 09, 2010

    Small world.  I live 25 miles away from Roseto.  Maybe I should consider relocating ;)

  • Gary Lythe
    December 10, 2010

    The areas you are talking about are called blue zones - areas where people commonly live longer than 100 years, and are healthy late in life. There is a good book about these areas where the author looks for common factors between different blue zones. And, indeed, one of those common factors is close relationships. Here is a link to the web site:

    http://www.bluezones.com/

  • David
    December 12, 2010

    Okinawa is many islands south of Japan.

  • Image for Warren Matthews
    Warren Matthews - Chairman
    December 14, 2010

    Oops...thanks David.  I shouldn't have done that item in such a rush without proofreading  it.

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