Wednesday, 14 March 2007

The Roseto effect

This term refers to the Pennsylvanian town of Roseto, populated by Italian immigrants. As you can read here, when charted in the 1960s the inhabitants of the town scarcely suffered from any heart attacks before the age of 65, and after this age at only half the national average. And this despite usual levels of smoking, a not particularly healthy diet, and most men being employed as manual labourers.

We discuss the Roseto study and other similar studies, such as those on Japanese immigrants who remained healthy so long as they kept to their traditional modes of life, on pages 155-161 of the book. What can be done to recapture those healthy aspects of a society in which people "radiated a kind of joyous team spirit as they celebrated religious festivals and family landmarks" and where "any display of wealth was taboo"?

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