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Thread: New Health & Lifestyle Maps of Europe

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    Thumbs up New Health & Lifestyle Maps of Europe

    Over the last few weeks I have been working on 20 new maps (more coming soon) showing indicators of health, activity, food and drink consumptions in and around Europe. Please visit the link. I will just post three of them here to illustrate.

    I was inspired in part by the discussion about the aggravating factors for Covid-19.







    Last edited by Maciamo; 11-04-20 at 12:14.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Over the last few weeks I have been working on 20 new maps (more coming soon) showing indicators of health, activity, food and drink consumptions in and around Europe. Please visit the link. I will just post three of them here to illustrate.

    I was inspired in part by the discussion about the aggravating factors for Covid-19.







    Very interesting.

    Lots of fast metabolizers of caffeine in the Scandinavian countries, clearly. They have to keep loading up. :)

    As for anxiety disorders, I'd say probably people in Russia, for example, have to worry and be anxious about surviving. Perhaps they don't have time to think about whether they have an overall anxiety disorder.

    The life expectancy maps are as expected. Italy (and Iceland?) have the most long lived people, especially long lived women. I don't have multiple great aunts over 80 and even 90 for nothing. :)

    I think the low influenza and pneumonia death rates in Italy might be heavily influenced by the fact that we give elderly people the influenza vaccine.

    One really surprised me: Italy consumes as much meat as Germany and less than Britain. When did that happen? :)

    The number of steps, which could roughly be held to stand for "movement", doesn't strictly correlate with obesity or health.

    Maybe sugar really is the enemy...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Lots of fast metabolizers of caffeine in the Scandinavian countries, clearly. They have to keep loading up. :)
    I think it has more to do with the depressing weather and low light in autumn and winter in northern Europe. I also feel the need to drink much more tea and coffee when the air pressure is low, the sky overcast and the daylight is so limited. That's in Belgium, so I can surely understand how they need it even more in Nordic countries.

    As for anxiety disorders, I'd say probably people in Russia, for example, have to worry and be anxious about surviving. Perhaps they don't have time to think about whether they have an overall anxiety disorder.
    Worry about survival is still worry/anxiety. I think that it has more to do with the fact that the data must be reported to doctors (psychiatrists) or psychologists and there may be a reluctance among Slavic and Baltic people (who all score low for anxiety and depression) to seek professional help. It may be a cultural thing. They may want to appear tough or may be reluctant to admit they need to see a shrink. It's either that or Slavic people developed some genetic resistance to anxiety and depression. But the former seems more likely.

    The number of steps, which could roughly be held to stand for "movement", doesn't strictly correlate with obesity or health.

    Maybe sugar really is the enemy...
    I was surprised too to see that there was hardly any correlation between obesity, physical exercice and also diabetes. The UK is the most overweight country in Europe, but it has the lowest rate of diabetes. People in the Balkans are relatively slim but have high diabetes. Sugar consumption is very high in all the northern half of Europe, yet countries like Denmark, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria are among the thinnest in Europe. Lots of Turkish people are overweight even though sugar consumption is much lower than in these countries.

    I would have thought that higher meat consumption would lead to lower life expectancy, but Spaniards eat the most meat and live very long lives.

    One relatively good correlation is between alcohol consumption and cancer death rates. It's cancer death rates though, so the quality of healthcare has a role too. The correlation is probably better with cancer rates. We see that Muslim countries, where alcohol is (mostly) prohibited have low cancer rates. Iceland, Italy, Bosnia, Albania and Greece have lower alcohol consumption than the European average and also lower cancer rates.





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    2 members found this post helpful.
    I have added a map of olive oil consumption per capita.


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    2 members found this post helpful.
    Given this breakdown, perhaps Northern Italians are the longest lived population in Europe?




    If so, what would explain it? It's not exercise or walking. (Although, while older Italian people are not going jogging, they are moving around their houses and yards, cooking, cleaning and gardening.) It's not eating less meat.

    So, in terms of environmental factors, what is it? Perhaps it's low amounts of alcohol consumption, high amounts of olive oil, low drug related deaths, low suicide rate (which correlates with lower levels of depression)?

    Connection to family and friends, feeling valued and necessary are bound to be factors, a characteristic which is hurting them with Covid 19.

    Also, a good health system, and there's bound to be a genetic component. There is for everything else.

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    You can see the life expectancy of European regions on Wikipedia. Wealthy regions tend to score higher everywhere. A mild climate and healthy cuisine is also important.

    Region (NUTS2) Country Life expectancy at birth,
    total
    Life expectancy at birth,
    men
    Life expectancy at birth,
    woman
    Community of Madrid Spain 85.2 82.2 87.8
    Ticino Switzerland 85.0 82.7 86.9
    Castile and León Spain 84.3 81.3 87.4
    La Rioja Spain 84.3 81.4 87.2
    Trentino Italy 84.3 81.6 86.9
    Île-de-France (Paris Metro) France 84.2 81.3 86.8
    Lake Geneva Switzerland 84.2 81.7 86.4
    Bolzano Italy 84.1 81.5 86.6
    Inner London - West United Kingdom 84.1 82.1 86.1
    Navarre Spain 84.1 81.3 87.0
    Umbria Italy 84.1 81.8 86.1
    Central Switzerland Switzerland 84.0 82.4 85.7
    Lombardy Italy 84.0 81.5 86.3
    Marche Italy 84.0 81.5 86.4
    Basque Country Spain 83.9 80.7 87.1
    Catalonia Spain 83.9 80.9 86.7
    Corsica France 83.9 80.6 87.1
    Rhône-Alpes France 83.9 80.9 86.7

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    Age is one of the factors of risk for cancer and other diseases, but I see that there is not a perfect correlation between life expectancy and cancer.

    @Maciamo
    Thanks for these maps.

    @Angela
    Out of curiosity (not directly related)...
    But you likely saw this before (?):

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/w...me-to-fat.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    Age is one of the factors of risk for cancer and other diseases, but I see that there is not a perfect correlation between life expectancy and cancer.
    @Maciamo
    Thanks for these maps.
    @Angela
    Out of curiosity (not directly related)...
    But you likely saw this before (?):
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/w...me-to-fat.html


    Life expectancy is tied to a lot of factors, not just cancer. For one thing, heart disease still kills more people, and then there are diseases caused by substance abuse and suicide.

    I'm convinced sugar is bad for you. Looking at the maps Maciamo posted, I think there's a correlation with the level of sugar consumption and the level of heart disease. High meat consumption might impact cancer rates more often. There were a lot of papers tying high levels of meat consumption to colon cancer, if I remember correctly.

    The Balkans throws things off because their life expectancy is impacted by high levels of alcohol use, smoking, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    You can see the life expectancy of European regions on Wikipedia. Wealthy regions tend to score higher everywhere. A mild climate and healthy cuisine is also important.

    Region (NUTS2) Country Life expectancy at birth,
    total
    Life expectancy at birth,
    men
    Life expectancy at birth,
    woman
    Community of Madrid Spain 85.2 82.2 87.8
    Ticino Switzerland 85.0 82.7 86.9
    Castile and León Spain 84.3 81.3 87.4
    La Rioja Spain 84.3 81.4 87.2
    Trentino Italy 84.3 81.6 86.9
    Île-de-France (Paris Metro) France 84.2 81.3 86.8
    Lake Geneva Switzerland 84.2 81.7 86.4
    Bolzano Italy 84.1 81.5 86.6
    Inner London - West United Kingdom 84.1 82.1 86.1
    Navarre Spain 84.1 81.3 87.0
    Umbria Italy 84.1 81.8 86.1
    Central Switzerland Switzerland 84.0 82.4 85.7
    Lombardy Italy 84.0 81.5 86.3
    Marche Italy 84.0 81.5 86.4
    Basque Country Spain 83.9 80.7 87.1
    Catalonia Spain 83.9 80.9 86.7
    Corsica France 83.9 80.6 87.1
    Rhône-Alpes France 83.9 80.9 86.7
    All of these areas except central Switzerland and perhaps the Paris Metro region, although the latter is going to have a lot of southerners living there, are more "Mediterranean", with more "Mediterranean" eating habits.

    The longevity for similarly rich but northern European areas is generally lower.

    Brussels Belgium 81.3 78.4 84.0
    Antwerp Belgium 82.4 80.2 84.5
    Capital Region of Denmark Denmark 80.8 78.7 82.8
    Central Denmark Denmark 81.5 79.8 83.2
    North Denmark Denmark 80.5 78.6 82.5
    Southern Denmark Denmark 81.2 79.3 83.1
    Zealand Denmark 80.2 78.3 82.2
    All of the German areas are pretty much the same.

    Mediterraneans from rich areas, and particularly Northern Italians live the longest.
    Last edited by Angela; 12-04-20 at 21:21.

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    is there a map on the split between vegie and meat eaters by euro nations ?

    I recall ( about 10 years ago ), Italy is a 60-40 split favoring vegies over meat at their diet, at a normal sitting

    while greece is the reverse


    In Australia, my family was the same in % of vegies over meat as well as my in-laws, cousins etc ............always slightly more vegies than meat ......................plus Lamb was a no no for us and also in italy from all accounts on both sides of the family
    so meat ..........equally eaten...was Fish, Chicken, Duck and Pork
    then a long way back came Beef
    then Goat, Deer
    and the story is both families as well as relatives, all avoided Lamb ............................we follow this here

    to Finalise.............Pasta once a week and Risotto twice a week ( a soup one and a non-soup one ) ...........although I liked my Risotto , a la Onda style ( like a wave )
    Fathers mtdna ...... T2b17
    Grandfather mtdna ... T1a1e
    Sons mtdna ...... K1a4p
    Mothers line ..... R1b-S8172
    Grandmother paternal side ... I1-CTS6397
    Wife paternal line ..... R1a-Z282

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    Quote Originally Posted by torzio View Post
    is there a map on the split between vegie and meat eaters by euro nations ?

    I recall ( about 10 years ago ), Italy is a 60-40 split favoring vegies over meat at their diet, at a normal sitting
    I couldn't find data for enough countries in Europe to make a map. It seems that the highest percentage of vegetarians in Europe is in Switzerland (14%), followed by Italy, Germany and Sweden (10%), then Austria (9%), Poland (8%), Belgium and the UK (7%).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    All of these areas except central Switzerland and perhaps the Paris Metro region, although the latter is going to have a lot of southerners living there, are more "Mediterranean", with more "Mediterranean" eating habits.

    The longevity for similarly rich but northern European areas is generally lower.

    Brussels Belgium 81.3 78.4 84.0
    Antwerp Belgium 82.4 80.2 84.5
    Capital Region of Denmark Denmark 80.8 78.7 82.8
    Central Denmark Denmark 81.5 79.8 83.2
    North Denmark Denmark 80.5 78.6 82.5
    Southern Denmark Denmark 81.2 79.3 83.1
    Zealand Denmark 80.2 78.3 82.2
    All of the German areas are pretty much the same.

    Mediterraneans from rich areas, and particularly Northern Italians live the longest.
    Brussels is a city with very strong socio-economic inequalities. According to the Belgian RTBF News, the life expectancy in Brussels is 85 years in the wealthiest neighbourhoods (like Woluwe) and 80 years in the poorest. That's a 5 years gap - as much as between Italy and Estonia (or Cuba). In other words, life expectancy in the good parts of Brussels is as high as in Madrid or Ticino, at the top of the European regions. The lowest has the same life expectancy as Chile or Costa Rica.

    Life expectancy in the USA is even lower, at 78.9 years. The longest lived states are Hawaii (82.3), California (81.6) then New York (81.3). If we look at the county level, the top 3 counties are all in Colorado and have tiny populations (about 100,000 people for the 3 combined). The first sizeable county is Marin County, California (similar population as the wealthier neighbourhoods of East Brussels) with a life expectancy of 83.8 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I couldn't find data for enough countries in Europe to make a map. It seems that the highest percentage of vegetarians in Europe is in Switzerland (14%), followed by Italy, Germany and Sweden (10%), then Austria (9%), Poland (8%), Belgium and the UK (7%).

    ok...np

    I meant , that italians in a sitting would consume 60% of vegies and 40 % meat

    my family , would always have I meat dish and 3 vegie dishes for each sitting ..................if no Polenta
    if Polenta.....1 meat dish and 2 vegies dishes

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    These are the so-called Blue Zones, where people supposedly live the longest: Nuoro + Ogliastra provinces, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Icaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.
    What would be their secrets? :)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Brussels is a city with very strong socio-economic inequalities. According to the Belgian RTBF News, the life expectancy in Brussels is 85 years in the wealthiest neighbourhoods (like Woluwe) and 80 years in the poorest. That's a 5 years gap - as much as between Italy and Estonia (or Cuba). In other words, life expectancy in the good parts of Brussels is as high as in Madrid or Ticino, at the top of the European regions. The lowest has the same life expectancy as Chile or Costa Rica.

    Life expectancy in the USA is even lower, at 78.9 years. The longest lived states are Hawaii (82.3), California (81.6) then New York (81.3). If we look at the county level, the top 3 counties are all in Colorado and have tiny populations (about 100,000 people for the 3 combined). The first sizeable county is Marin County, California (similar population as the wealthier neighbourhoods of East Brussels) with a life expectancy of 83.8 years.
    I was posting about Europe and comparing the Northern European countries to the Southern European countries.

    Even if this is true for Brussels, is it true for all of those Northern European areas, virtually all of which have a lower life expectancy than Southern European ones with a reasonably good standard of living?

    Also, I'd point out that Lombardia and Emilia Romagna, in particular, have very high levels of immigrants with a much lower standard of living, especially North African Moroccans and Sub-Saharan Africans. So, the relative comparison would probably remain the same.


    A very large percentage of the Moroccan population lives in Northern Italy.

    https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10.../826099629.pdf

    Diet and lifestyle, i.e. very moderate levels of alcohol consumption etc.





    I think looking at cigarette use may not capture the whole story as it pertains to tobacco use...

    There's this...



    And then there's snus use, which is very high in all the Scandinavian countries...





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    Two more:




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    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    These are the so-called Blue Zones, where people supposedly live the longest: Nuoro + Ogliastra provinces, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Icaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.
    What would be their secrets? :)

    Off the cuff: high plant and fruit consumption, low alcohol use, low tobacco use, strong social connections...

    Then I looked it up. :) I figured some one must have tried to do a comparison...




    The 80% rule means stop eating when you're 80% full. My dad used to say: push back from the table when you're still a little hungry. :)

    I believe all of it. That's how all my relatives who approached 100 lived.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Off the cuff: high plant and fruit consumption, low alcohol use, low tobacco use, strong social connections...

    Then I looked it up. :) I figured some one must have tried to do a comparison...




    The 80% rule means stop eating when you're 80% full. My dad used to say: push back from the table when you're still a little hungry. :)

    I believe all of it. That's how all my relatives who approached 100 lived.
    Thanks, Angela. Very interesting!

    I'd expect faith is a feature of Sardinians as well.
    By the way, a remarkable feature of Seulo, in Sardinia, would be that men live as long as women there.

    I just remembered this 80% rule. My godfather, Italian, used to say the same thing, but without this name. :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regio X View Post
    These are the so-called Blue Zones, where people supposedly live the longest: Nuoro + Ogliastra provinces, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Icaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.
    What would be their secrets? :)

    Despite all that has been written about Okinawa, it is no longer exceptional for its life expectancy. Okinawa only ranks 27th among Japan's 47 prefectures for life expectancy (nearly one year less than the top prefectures of Nagano and Shiga). It doesn't rank in the top for the ratio of centenarians either.

    Likewise Sardinia is not the longest lived regions in Italy. It ranks only 15th out of 20! It is just the province of Nuoro that has a lot of (male) centenarians, but the average life expectancy is actually lower than the national average.



    As for Ikaria, Nicoya and Loma Linda, they have very small populations (8000, 25000 and 24000 respectively), so I think we are dealing with the Texas sharpshooter fallacy due to low sample size and random luck. Such tiny populations are not representative. If you look at life expectancy by zip code in the US, there are plenty of places where the average is 90 years or more. The highest in Texas is apparently Hutto with a 97 years average! In Chatham County, N.C., it falls between 90 and 104 years depending on the zip code. Compared to the best neighbourhoods in the US (or Europe) the so-called Blue Zones are really nothing special. The term was just coined as a media coup by National Geographic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Despite all that has been written about Okinawa, it is no longer exceptional for its life expectancy. Okinawa only ranks 27th among Japan's 47 prefectures for life expectancy (nearly one year less than the top prefectures of Nagano and Shiga). It doesn't rank in the top for the ratio of centenarians either.

    Likewise Sardinia is not the longest lived regions in Italy. It ranks only 15th out of 20! It is just the province of Nuoro that has a lot of (male) centenarians, but the average life expectancy is actually lower than the national average.



    As for Ikaria, Nicoya and Loma Linda, they have very small populations (8000, 25000 and 24000 respectively), so I think we are dealing with the Texas sharpshooter fallacy due to low sample size and random luck. Such tiny populations are not representative. If you look at life expectancy by zip code in the US, there are plenty of places where the average is 90 years or more. The highest in Texas is apparently Hutto with a 97 years average! In Chatham County, N.C., it falls between 90 and 104 years depending on the zip code. Compared to the best neighbourhoods in the US (or Europe) the so-called Blue Zones are really nothing special. The term was just coined as a media coup by National Geographic.
    Oh! So it would be related to the % of centenarians rather than based on averages. Thanks for checking it out, and thanks for the links (I'll check them when possible).
    In the case of Sardinia, it would be true just to specific places, I know, but it looks very interesting anyway, especially considering health care (possibly lower in quality when compared, say, to North Italian).
    As a side note, I'd say that relatively high averages may be particularly relevant when they correlate with somewhat poor areas, since other environmental factors, here, could become more meaningful.
    My wife's paternal grandfather faced a serious health problem at her 70s, but fortunately she was well treated and finally cured. At the end she reached 100. My wife's maternal grandmother also lived long (not as long as the former though), but she had to stay in bed for years before she passed away. Just examples.

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    My father will be 98 in August. He has had high blood pressure since his 40s and has been maybe 20 lbs overweight since his 40s. His diet has been the typical Greek diet with more vegetables including pasta, bread and potatoes than meat. I think the fact that nothing bothers him and he does not stress about things might be the secret to his longevity.

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    Is the longevity of Italians increasing or decreasing? Can it be attributed to better medical care?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsnake49 View Post
    Is the longevity of Italians increasing or decreasing? Can it be attributed to better medical care?
    I've been wondering about the relative importance of better medical care too. I'm sure it's a factor, but it's definitely not the only factor. Denmark and big parts of Germany have a projected longevity of around 81. Southern Italy, which has worse health care than Northern Italy, is still around 82-83. Northern Italy is around 84, 85.

    There does seem to be a slight drop in longevity in some data from 2017, but it's about 3 months, and unfortunately most of the drop stems from decreases in the south. Again, I think that can be attributed in part to a lower standard of living and worse health care.
    https://www.thelocal.it/20170411/lif...aly-has-fallen

    I personally think that it's probable that if incomes and health care in the south were better, their life expectancy would equal or exceed that of the North, mostly, I think, because their diet falls more within the parameters of the "Mediterranean" diet, and their family units are even stronger and more supportive than what I see in certain parts of the north. The people of my own Emilia Romagna, for example, have a diet very heavy in butter and cheese and consume more meat than the Southerners. They don't call Bologna "La Grassa" or fat for nothing, and yes, with age the people tend to become a bit "portly", although genetics could be a factor too.

    Oh, as for the really old, "The number of centenarians, or people that are over the age of 100, has tripled in Italy over the last 15 years."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I've been wondering about the relative importance of better medical care too. I'm sure it's a factor, but it's definitely not the only factor. Denmark and big parts of Germany have a projected longevity of around 81. Southern Italy, which has worse health care than Northern Italy, is still around 82-83. Northern Italy is around 84, 85.

    There does seem to be a slight drop in longevity in some data from 2017, but it's about 3 months, and unfortunately most of the drop stems from decreases in the south. Again, I think that can be attributed in part to a lower standard of living and worse health care.
    https://www.thelocal.it/20170411/lif...aly-has-fallen

    I personally think that it's probable that if incomes and health care in the south were better, their life expectancy would equal or exceed that of the North, mostly, I think, because their diet falls more within the parameters of the "Mediterranean" diet, and their family units are even stronger and more supportive than what I see in certain parts of the north. The people of my own Emilia Romagna, for example, have a diet very heavy in butter and cheese and consume more meat than the Southerners. They don't call Bologna "La Grassa" or fat for nothing, and yes, with age the people tend to become a bit "portly", although genetics could be a factor too.

    Oh, as for the really old, "The number of centenarians, or people that are over the age of 100, has tripled in Italy over the last 15 years."
    The reason I am asking is that in the cities of the North, an ambulance is 15-20 minutes away and the hospital also pretty close. In the mountains of Sicily or Calabria it might be farther away. If you're having a heart attack those 10-15 minutes it might be the difference between life and death.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsnake49 View Post
    The reason I am asking is that in the cities of the North, an ambulance is 15-20 minutes away and the hospital also pretty close. In the mountains of Sicily or Calabria it might be farther away. If you're having a heart attack those 10-15 minutes it might be the difference between life and death.
    Distance from health care does matter, but I don't know if there's much of a difference between the percentage of people living in remote mountain areas in the north versus the south. We have the Apennines too, and then there's the Alps, of course.

    Plus, in a lot of places in both areas the small, remote villages are virtually empty of people. The only signs of life in most of those villages is during the summer when people return from wherever they've settled for work. That's true of my father's and my mother's villages (well, frazione, in the case of my mother), and those of my husband's family as well. That's why mayors in both the north and the south started a program a couple of years ago to sell houses in those villages for one dollar or some other minimal amount.

    It's a tragedy, imo, but there it is.

    Also, I noticed that Campania has some pretty bad numbers, relatively speaking. How much of that might be due to the fact that the Camorra was dumping toxic waste there, and other atrocities? They should all get the death penalty; if anyone deserves it, they do.

    I don't think it's anything "genetic" despite the genetic cline in Italy, because close to half the population in certain northern cities like Torino and Milano is of southern Italian origin. It's different outside of those cities, but still, if genetics were the cause you'd see an impact at least in those areas, I would think.

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