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Oggi - A Quest for the Life Long Secret - February 27th, 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Translation Oggi America Article    -   February 27th 2011

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What is the secret for a long and healthy life? Our ancestors tried to answer this question but with no answers at all. An American research group, however, has some ideas where to begin to look for answers. The clues in their hands brought them to Raviscanina, a small place in the Campania Province, Caserta.

The Foundation, Una Vita, led by Dr. Diana F. Bruno with her main office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, plan to financially support a team of 15 American and Italian researchers in the field of medicine and sociology to find out if the ancient Italian traditions and customs still alive in the Italian small places are the main contributing factors to make Italy one of the best place for healthy living. Italians live longer lives and their rates of obesity, mortality, and suicide is lower than many other European countries. The slow life style found in little comuni (places) in Italy, their strong sense of community, and healthy food locally produced and consumed by the members of the community, are all contributing factors, according to Dr. Bruno and her team, to the higher healthy standards of the members of these communities.

To demonstrate the validity of this theory, the researchers from the Una Vita Foundation will begin to study the people in the small village of Raviscanina and their habits. However, such healthy factors are at risk. According to Dr. Bruno "The needs of modern life are pushing many Italians from small villages like Raviscanina towards the frenetic life of big cities" where the virtuous practices of a good health are at risk. In particular, when the young generations are pushed away from their places of origin, many of these healthy practices are not practiced anymore and are lost. The true treasure of small places in Italy, their health and their life style are at risk to disappear in time.

Dr. Bruno predicts that within 30 years Italy will look like more the US for what concerns the health of its people. To prevent such a situation, the researchers in Raviscanina will also implement a second stage of intervention in which they will help the young generations in Raviscanina to stay in their community by getting decent jobs without the needs to move to a big city. If this will have positive outcomes, the same model will be exported to other small Italian centers. The hemorrhage that is keeping many young people away from their place of origin does not apply to the Southern part of Italy but is affecting the entire Italian territory.

The administration of Raviscanina has already agreed to support the research project, since it has given the permission to access the data relative to their citizens from the end of WWII until today. Now, Una Vita Foundation must collect the funds to support the research. The goal is to collect 1.12 million dollars at the beginning of June 2011.

"Fundraising is going well" said Dr. Bruno "the main source comes from Italian Americans proud of their place of origin and of its life style. They decided to give money after having heard that the so admired Italian life style risks disappearing."

The beginning of the research should begin in September and will continue until positive results will be yielded. However, Dr. Bruno is skeptical in educating the American populace to adopt a healthy life style like Raviscanina: "I do not believe that such healthy practices common in the Italian culture will ever be in the U.S. These are two very different societies and I have doubts on the ability to transfer the Italian life style traditions."

The goal of Una Vita Foundation is ambitious and the clues coming from the field must be proven yet. But if their theories were correct, Italy could find a treasure in its hand of incredible value.