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We've heard this story previously about Greece, where, it turned out to be a scam: people were not reporting deaths of their elderly relatives in order to continue receiving their monthly pension payments. Which kind of busted the myth of the great "mediterranean diet". I wonder if Spain is the same thing.

That is apparently also a significant problem in Japan [1], so I'm not really sure what to think as far as which region should take the prize for longevity.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/world/asia/15japan.html

This kind of scam is actually a minor issue and also a pretty moronic thing to do.

You're destined to be doomed once you fake your parent's death.

Too few cases to made any real impact on statistics probably.

The real problem is that Spain is losing population at the bottom of the plot. Less young people means more percentage of elders at a given time and this would raise the life expectancy purely as a mathematical artifact.

Life expectancy is not calculated by the average age of the current population...

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

How could that possibly affect longevity? In the way life expectancy is defined it doesn't seem possible.

I’m not sure in this case, but it could be defined as the age expected to be achieved of the people currently alive. So if the population was entirely 80 year olds, the life expectancy would be around 90.

Please don't try to infer the definition, the point of definitions is that there is one precise meaning instead of many interpretations.

And what would be this definition? The article does not explain how they calculated it. Their link is broken.

Please don't infer that all people act the same. Some countries use gallons, other liter. What is normal for one people can be weird for other.

Real facts: Spain is losing population. We have one of the lower children by women ratio in the world and the big scam nuked any stability at work for many young couples worsening the situation heavily. The health system has suffered also in the last years. Less funds for public health system means people living less, not more. They should mention this important context in an article about life expectancy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1117826/ https://elpais.com/elpais/2016/12/16/inenglish/1481895459_84...

If we define life expectancy as "the mean number of years of life remaining at a given age, assuming age-specific mortality rates remain at their most recently measured levels" If you have less babies, you have less babies dying in their first years. Your mortality value changes. You have also less young spanish adults doing stupid things and dying young. What about the young spaniards forced to migrate to other countries and that become citizens of other countries? Do the index count a young migrant man from equator or Morocco dying in Spain as spanish mortality?

Statistics are just a model, not the real life. They lie, always. We can build a statistical model to say anything we want. Is the interpretation in the correct context what counts.

By that logic, the Japanese "myth" of longevity is also busted: https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/world/asia/15japan.html

It's not. Last week a fraud like that was in national news. But it was news precisely because it's unheard of. It seems the son has some mental problems, and had a Norman Bates setup.

The diet unfortunately is being abandoned by many. We're starting to see a children obesity problem.

Another factor could be the universal healthcare system. Also we still take decent care of our seniors.

I find Dr. Esselstyn's observations compelling - that the Mediterranean diet is really only a good diet because it is being compared to so many poor diets. In his analysis of many countries, it is oils in the diet which correspond to the cancers and heart disease which kill so many. Like so many other diets, I think we will look back at the Mediterranean diet and wonder how we could have been so foolish.

While other countries are adding the mediterranean diet more and more into their cultures, here around the mediterranean sea we are also improving and refining it with research!

I just read from Italians the same thing that I've been hearing in Spain for few years: do not burn your food, specially oil, since it's related to cancer.

The nice thing about the Mediterranean diet is that it's fairly easy to stick to and still have many delicious meals, compared to many others. It's no good having some perfect diet that nobody is actually going to follow.

Esselstyn might be right but he is just making a best guess. His science is terrible, one uncontrolled study of 18 patients.

But he did that study based on the data from many other countries. You are just addressing the small scale test he tried.

I guess you are right, the Mediterranean diet is terrible: all people following it are dying.

It still seems to be one of the best available though.

I hope you are right and medicine becomes more of an exact science.

Also we still take decent care of our seniors.

We do too (for a given value of decent). We are UK and you are probably JP(?)

Please don't assume I know where you come from - that cough right is generally reserved for Americans.

I'm Spanish and I thought it would be clear in context. Try to read my comment as an answer to the previous one.

> The diet unfortunately is being abandoned by many.

with soybean sauce and MSG used in so many dishes, I am afraid to say that the diet is never a good one to start with.

As a Brit living in Spain the diet seems a lot better. More olive oils and less processed crap.

Oil is not a health food. More plants would make that statement accurate.

The Mediterranean diet is practically based on it. It's the most significant difference in the southern Italian diet and the American one. People use what would seem to be horrifying amounts of oil to a typical American. They lead active lives into their 80s and 90s. The oil supports the consumption of more vegetables (by making them more palatable). The fact that the longest lived people in the world outside of Japan are consuming very large amounts of it (Spain, Italy, Sardinia, Greece, various Mediterranean islands) should suggest it's not a bad thing to consume. For reference, people in these countries are eating 250ml a week per person (15L a year in Greece). But this is only correlation.

I'm still fuzzy on lipids, but olive oil promotes HDL which removes cholesterol from bloodstream.

And smaller portions.

I have an unproven theory that a beach culture contributes as well. People want their bodies to look decent enough to show them off.

Maybe, but even in non-beach towns (e.g. Madrid) I've found portions to generally be smaller than in the US (or Paris).

Fraud wouldn't be limited to high life-expectancy countries though. It would be anywhere with some kind of elderly pensions, which most developed countries have some form of, unless there are specific countries where fraud is more common place.

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