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Looks like a mixture of the top wine consuming countries and Japan longevity.

It's probably moreso the Mediterranean diet and the Mediterranean climate (encouraging more walking). The evidence that wine or any alcohol consumption positively affects health is equivocal at best (I say as I drink an IPA).

The climate is half the battle; the built form is also very important.

It's very easy to walk in the relatively compact cities and towns of the Mediterranean; it is not as easy to do so in Mountain View, which shares the Mediterranean climate classification.

Yeah, that's probably more important than the weather. Their cities are incredibly walkable. I recall reading that in the US, folks living in suburban areas average something like 3 or 4 kilos more than those in urban areas.

Huh, I found it very easy to do almost everything on foot in MV. I guess there are some parts that are less accessible.

We should take in mind that Spanish is a diverse country with different climatic areas. The Mediterranean tag is a gross oversimplification.

In terms of weather, the North is as mediterranean as Ireland or Paris. Soria's winters had more in common with Chicago than with Valencia, (Valencia would be closer to California). Canary islands have their own atlantic climate.

The "Mediterranean diet" tag is also a gross oversimplification.

In terms of population we are also one of the more diverse countries in Europe, an historical melting pot of catholics, muslims, jews and americans with a salt of hindi, therefore we grow free of many stupid food taboo's. We eat a lot of seafood and pork meat is culturally ok.

Having strong bonds with America, Europe and Africa gave us access to a lot of different exotic products. There is nothing mediterranean in chicken, milk, bananas, chocolate, tomato or potatoes. Neither bread or wine are "Mediterranean" products in the strict sense. Not exclusively mediterranean species or cultured exclusively in the Mediterranean. A diet based in bread, meat and wine should be named "castillian diet".

There's definitely way more walking since there is no "car culture" like in the US. I've heard that olive oil plays a big role as well.

Outside of the big (with good public transport) or old (where you can walk everywhere) cities, you very much need a car to get around in Spain. Most of the residential developments in the last half century has been what are called 'urbanisations', basically groups of apartment blocks in areas far from the city centre. If you are lucky there may be a small grocery store or coffee shop within the development, but for anything else you will need to travel further afield.

> Most of the residential developments in the last half century has been what are called 'urbanisations'

Any data to back this up? I've checked eurostats [1] and the numbers don't support this assertion: 66% of all dwellings are flats (there are no flats in spanish urbanisations), and only 12% are detached houses (the most common building type in urbanisations).

Also, notice that these numbers are the larger (for % of people living in flats) and smaller (for % of detached houses) in all of Europe!

[1] http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?query=BOOKMA...

I wonder if the afternoon sleep/siesta culture has any bearing as well. People didnt evolve for 8-10 hour work days. Afternoon naps were common in early human life, from what Ive read.

Most people in Spain don’t sleep a siesta / nap anymore. Most of us work for multinationals with the normal 8/9 to 6/7 schedule. However, we do have a 1 hour lunch break where we can eat a 2 course meal calmly.

How common are seiestas outside of big cities? While in Madrid pretty much everything seemed open during daylight hours (although there was lots of late night revelry). However, I arrived in Toledo in the early afternoon to find lots of places still closed.

I'm currently living in a small city in the south (~120k pop), and here shops are usually open from 9:30 - 14:00 then 17:00 - 21:00, and closed all day Sunday. In larger or more tourist areas most shops will be open all day, but restaurants often still follow traditional hours.

That doesn't mean they are taking a nap. They are probably eating or doing something else.

I've heard that the South still do

The so called "siesta culture" is a myth.

That's sad.

wine has almost no effect (and potentially some negative ones as well), as demonstrated following the original badly designed observational studies. This myth needs to disappear.

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