I have always assumed that the Japanese on average live longer than people from other countries in the world because of their enjoyment of sea food. However "The Times" this week reports that the Japanese are soon to be overtaken in the longevity stakes by the Spanish.
Spanish people that I have met, appear to enjoy life to the full, with good wine siestas, women (and presumably men) and excellent food.
However they also appear to enjoy smoking and even drink roughly the same amount of alcohol as the average Briton so where are we going wrong or rather the Spanish going right?
Part of the answer apparently is the Spanish custom of taking a daily walk they call the "paseo". Apparently the paseo daily stroll is taken by over 75% of the population of Spain at least 4 times a week. In Europe apparently, only the Bulgarians undertake more walking than the Spaniards.
Strolling about Wimbledon and environs as I do most days of the week, I find it interesting to see that many if not most, other people one notices walking about, are fairly lean looking but more interestingly, when passing by those in conversation, English is not the most common language to be heard.
Local main roads though are often clogged up with cars and other traffic which causes me to wonder whether the report that UK longevity has now ceased to increase but has at best become static, is partially caused by the failure of many in this country to undertake even moderate amounts of daily walking. Passing by a beautiful new Mercedes motor car, I noted that its happy owner or at least driver, who had exited the vehicle for a quiet smoke was hugely overweight looking. Given that the Spanish go in for smoking as much as those in the UK, one can conclude that being overweight is caused at least in part, by the lack of sufficient exercise as well as presumably diet.
Obviously in the UK, Spain, Japan and elsewhere, excess weight can be caused by health factors but the statistics tend to show, that for average people with average health, more exercise, is one of the keys to a long life.
The Times article also suggests that we in the UK, should eat more tomatoes, almonds and use far more olive oil, to improve our longevity.
Given that the Japanese have topped the longevity stakes for years, I would surmise that increasing the amount of fish in one's diet, would also have beneficial effects.