The 1950’s were a time in North America in which the main cause of death for males under 65 was: heart attacks. This was true for every place on this continent except for this little town in the state of Pennsylvania called: Roseto. Well the rest of the country was getting put on cholesterol lowering drugs and told to cut out fat, cholesterol, and salt from their diets, Roseto’s population was doing the exact opposite.
They were eating a lot of meat, eggs, very little to no carbs, tones of fats (41% of their diet was fat), lard, and lots of salt. These citizens had zero people with heart disease, not a single person had a heart attack in Roseto. Not only that, but people were also experiencing the following:
- Not a single person committed suicide
- No alcoholism
- No drug addiction
- Very little crime
- Not one person had a single peptic ulcer
This was not only do to a healthy diet, there were other external factors the sociologist John Bruhn had seen. Most of the town were immigrants mostly from Italy that led very social lives, the whole town worked together as a society. It was common to see three generations living under one roof. Everyone would stop and take the time to visit with their fellow community members, they would cook for one another in their backyards. They all went together to mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Bruhn had seen this unifying and calming effect from the Church. He counted 22 separate civic organizations in a town of just two thousand people. They picked up on the particular egalitarian ethos of the community, which discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures.
Transplanting the paesani culture of southern Italy to the hills of eastern Pennsylvania, the Rosetans had created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world. The Rosetans were healthy because of where they were from, because of the world they had created for their tiny little town in the hills.