Why Italian Golfers Live Longer!

by DavalosMcCormack on June 2, 2008

So, Shirley and I got back from a trip to Italy a few weeks ago. It was wonderful. Terrific. And terribly expensive. But it seems it may have helped reduce our risk of diabetes! At least according to a new study from our chums at the British Medical Journal.

The study says that the traditional Mediterranean diet, such as the kind of food they eat in Italy, offers people a lot of protection against developing type 2 diabetes. That’s because the diet is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and fish. It’s also low in red meat and fatty dairy foods, and alcohol.

OK, so other than that last item we did really well in Italy. Lots of fish and fruits and veg. Not so much meat. As for the alcohol, I figure the red wine can help protect my heart. And I’m a big hearted fellow so I need a lot of it.

But back to the science. The researchers followed 13,000 people over 8 years, surveying them for what they ate, if they had a history of diabetes in the family etc. Interestingly enough – well, I think so anyway – the people who stuck most closely to the classic Mediterranean diet were also the ones with the highest risk of diabetes in their families. Even so, those who kept to the diet were 83% less likely to develop diabetes than those who didn’t. 83%. That’s amazing.

The good news is you don’t have to go to Italy to get those benefits. You can do it at home. Just eat lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and fish, and smaller amounts of red meat and dairy, and you’ll be just fine. And think of the money you’ll save on air fare!

Study Links Golf to Longer Life
Get the joke, links! Ok, it was pretty weak but how many really good golf jokes are there!

This is a really interesting study. I’ve played golf a little bit over the years but I was never much good at it and it seemed to take forever and who has that kind of time etc etc etc. Anyway, it turns out that while it may take longer to play golf than say, darts, it also keeps you alive longer.

Swedish researchers at the University Karolinska Institutet looked at data from 300,000 Swedish golfers and found that the death rate among them was 40% lower than for the rest of the population.

Aha, you are probably thinking, as I did when I first read that, that’s probably because most people who play golf are wealthier, have better health insurance, nicer lifestyles etc. Well, apparently that didn’t matter. Even after taking all that into account, golfers still lived longer than other people of the same sex, age and socio-economic status.

So why is that? Well, in a news release for the study Professor Anders Ahlborn, one of the lead researchers, says “A round of golf means being outside for four or five hours, walking at a good pace, something which is known to be good for health.” He also pointed out that “people play golf into old age, and there are also positive social and psychological aspects to the game that can be of help.”

In other words, you are out and about and hanging out with your mates. These are things we know are important in helping prolong not just the length of your life but also the quality of it too.

By the way, that 40% reduction in mortality rate translated to an extra five years of life. And the ones with the lowest handicap, had the lowest mortality rates of all. So all that time on the golf course, wasn’t wasted after all. So we should all be “fore” it.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist that. I’ll shut up now.

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