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Tuesday 20th March 2018

In Italy We Only Become Elderly After 75

Lifestyle & Health

Roberto Tumbarello

Fri, 07 Dec 2018 16:14 GMT

Italians remain young up to the age of 75 - that’s according to the Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics underway in Rome. We owe the good news to physical activity, good nutrition, and to treatments that not only allow us to live longer, but reach advanced old age in good condition.

According to studies by the cardiovascular department at the University of Florence, a 75-year old today has the same energy as a 40-year old in 1980. Compared to the first decade of the last century, thanks to changed demographic conditions and better medicines, life expectancy has increased by at least twenty years, and by ten in the past four decades alone. 

The latest statistical survey indicates life expectancy for women is 85, and 83 for men. A joint study by gerontologists at different universities in Washington has already predicted that by 2040 life expectancy will be 87.3 for women and 84.5 for men. 

Which means Italy will rise from seventh to sixth in global longevity rankings. In first place, for now, is Japan, followed by Spain. France, Israel, Luxembourg and Australia. The United Kingdom is 26th, the United States 43rd, China at 68.

Even seventy-year-olds who take regular exercise are biologically 30 years younger than their laziest peers. According to research conducted in a joint venture by Ancestry and Calico Life Sciences, longevity depends only 10% on DNA, but above all on lifestyle. One emerging fact is the longevity enjoyed in marriages between partners of the same ethnic group, who have similar tastes, and cultural and lifestyle habits. 

According to Professor Roberto Bernabei, president of "Long-lived Italy", elderly Italians also deal with children and grandchildren, as well as with their peers in difficulty, even those who require home care,

Diseases worry everyone, but most are satisfied with how they are getting old. The most frequent disorders are diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease, loss of memory and hearing, but they are all kept under control.

Two wonders are the weather and the Mediterranean diet, which originated in Italy and many countries are now adopting. Unfortunately, given the low birth rate in Italy – in recent years, deaths exceeded births – we are becoming a country of the old. Pensions increase every year and balancing the books becomes an increasing challenge. But for that, Italy would be a paradise, which is why foreigners who work in Italy or arrive at retirement age, never return home. They prefer to grow old here.

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