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Home » Country in Focus, Features, Health Issue

Country in Focus the Health Issue: Longevity and the Italian Lifestyle

Submitted by on December 23, 2012 – 6:59 pmNo Comment

 

A fruit and vegetable market in Padova Italy.

Ruggero Galtarossa is from a small city in Northern Italy called Padova. He is 22 years old he has been living in London for two and a half years. He is in his third year studying journalism and sociology for a BA joint honours degree.

The Italians have an exceptionally high average life expectancy – above 74 years for men and 80 years for women. We talked about a special village in the North called Stoccareddo whose inhabitants do not suffer from heart disease or diabetes and live into their 90s that, although he hadn’t heard of it before the village turned out to be 600 km from Galtarossa’s city.

Q. Stoccareddo’s 400 inhabitants are all related with the same last name Bau, they all marry each other, not first cousins I believe. What do you think though about the fact that they all arrived there 800 years ago from Denmark? The fresh air, water, lifestyle and Meditteranean diet is credited with being the cause for the longevity for Italians is that a fair description of your city?

A. It was 800 years ago so they would have had time to get used to proper food, the weather and Italian lifestyle so it doesn’t make a difference. It sounds like we all live in the countryside it is not the case. My city is small it is not a metropolis. I am not saying that Italians are lazy but we don’t have the same lifestyle as here in London. Having a family there is do-able, there are not huge differences from the suburbs and the city centre where you work. You don’t have to rush the whole day, I mean you could do that here in London but it is more problematic if you don’t want to live in a rush it is not a bad place to live. In Italy there are some traditional recipes which are very good. A lot of the food is not very sophisticated consisting of a lot of soups, traditional chicken that we call poor food we also have  a tradititional type of pasta which I think is very good. We also go up to the hills that surround the city where we eat barbecued food.

Q. What is eating out like in Italy? Is there a lot of obesity there?

A. A lot of people ask me here if I go to Italian restaurants in Italy, I find it very funny because yeah we don’t really have any other restaurants and it is the same with my family as we all just eat Italian food. I recently discovered, what I would call “foreign food” when I came to London. I mean we do have some Chinese restaurants and maybe a couple of Japanese restaurants but for example  there are only three McDonalds and only teenagers hang out there thinking it’s cool because it is ‘American’. Compared to London there are fewer obese people. There is a relationship between obesity and fast food that is obviously not just me saying that it is a fact.

Q. How has your diet changed since living in London and any other Italian friends where this is the case?

A. It has changed so much it has gone bad but this year I would say that I made some improvements I started cooking more, unlike last year where I would eat once a day.I Generally like to cook but I am lazy and I don’t like to eat much fast food, I lost a lot of weight which doesn’t really happen with Italians come to London. As I said we have healthy food in Italy and then we come here and you hang out with people and eat anywhere like at KFC and McDonalds this can become a habit. If this becomes a reguraly thing you could eventually end up becoming obese. In my family we have never really gone to say, McDonalds and when I see families eating there it is very weird for me. I think fast food is not real food and my diet has changed because my mom is not here so she cannot cook for me. But if you are asking me if I eat different things I can cook Italian food so at my place the most exotic thing I cook is chicken curry. In London I try to buy as much fresh food as possible but the outcome of cooking food here is not the same as the ingredients at home are different.

 

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