The Island Where People Live Longer : NPR
A Greek island in the Aegean Sea. The island of Icaria. Modest. Not much to write home about. Except it is one of those rare places on earth where people just live longer than everyone everywhere else.
Why? Well, it seems they do things the European way in the extreme, the exact opposite of what most Americans do.
I've been to Europe several times & I am struck each time by the unimaginable idea that someone else actually does something better than the way do it in America. I'm not joking. That realization was quite a shock to me at first.
For example, & the article noted, that the people on the island walk. A lot. Everywhere. It's not that Americans don't kill themselves for that 30 minutes of cardio workout 3-5 times a week. We do. We have entire businesses built around exercise, something the Europeans do as part of every day, normal existence. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing expensive. They walk.
Of course, they walk because they live near their work, whereas Americans have this idea that everyone needs to be an English Lord & live 20 miles away from the their employment, schools, community, everything. So not only does the typical American drive everywhere instead of walking, we then pay for that privilege in our miniature apartments on wheels that cost a fortune to operate, insure, & purchase, not to mention destroy the public roads much more so than the Europeans with their smaller cars. And don't give me that We need the bigger room for our large family. Bull. Europeans have large families & large framed people too.
And for those excursions that take more than a walk, bicycles or scooters or public transportation is available & utilized. Ask the 100 Americans to take a 20 minute bicycle ride to work & you would be arrested for treason. Ride a scooter? Yeah. Some towns have parking posts all over town for bikes & scooters, but have ordinances that make it illegal to use them --- the posts are just decoration --- not naming any names, mind you (Dallas, GA).
Compare meals. While Europe eats healthy meals & enjoy them, we're just a nation of three hundred million overweight, ill-informed, Wal-Mart shoppers who can't wait for our next Big Mac fix.
Perhaps what bothers me the most, is that most Americans don't even realize how far behind the rest of the world we are in matters regarding transportation, conservation & land use. Maybe the rest of the world will just out live us.