The positive effect on longevity for elderly living in mountain and hill areas

Graziella Caselli, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Rosa Maria Lipsi, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"

Sardinia (one of the two largest Italian islands) is a representative example of human longevity for the highest number of centenarians and the existence of a geographical area where male mortality after 80 years is lower than elsewhere in the region and Italy. Recently, Graziella Caselli e Rosa Maria Lipsi have also identified isolated pockets of longevity areas for Sicilian men with similar features to those found in Sardinia. For both islands the longevity areas correspond to small municipalities, with the lowest number of inhabitants. Once having seen the interesting outcome for the two islands, we turned our focus to other Italian regions to see if something similar exists. The first aim is to single out areas of possible longevity for men in some selected regions that share omogeneous characteristic with those found in Sardinia and Sicily. The second aim is to overlap the longevity areas with those ones with the lowest number of inhabitants. The underlying hypothesis is the positive effect on longevity for Elderly living in small municipalities, often situated in mountain and hill. Usually, in the municipalities that have less than 10,000 inhabitants, people live with less stress than those that are living in metropolitan areas. The geographic isolation of the oldest old living in the mountainous zone, represents a protective factor of longevity in comparison with those that spent their life in big cities characterized by more traffic, more pollution, and where sometimes mantaining public relations is more difficult than in the small municipalities. Moreover, they live with their relatives that assure them health care and assistence. It is well established that individuals with greater access to social support and family network have better health and lower levels of mortality, particularly when adult daughters are present. For this purpose we selected three regions (Piedmont, Marche and Campania) in different geographical position, with different socio-economic conditions, and with opposite provincial mortality patterns.

Presented in Session 45: Longevity