Why Italians Live So Long
Italy is known around the world for its healthy diet and lifestyle, so it comes as no surprise to hear it came second in a global index ranking countries worldwide on factors that contribute to the overall health of residents. Since 2008, the European Heart Network has found that despite the older profile of Italy's population Italians are far less likely to die from cancer and heart problems than their other European counterparts.
The index grades nations based on variables such as life expectancy and access to clean water and sanitation while subtracting points over risks such as tobacco use and obesity with the Mediterranean diet being at least partially responsible for Italy's high ranking on the list.
Researchers say eating habits may provide clues to health levels enjoyed by Spain and Italy, as a “Mediterranean diet, supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts, had a lower rate of major cardiovascular events than those assigned to a reduced-fat diet,” according to a study led by the University of Navarra Medical School.
Italy was beaten to first place by neighboring Spain in the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 economies worldwide. Currently the average life expectancy of Italian citizens is 83 years old.
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