Life Expectancy & Eating Your Vegetables

December 8, 2009

So tonight, I exchanged some volunteering of Christmas Tree decorating help for food.  My Tita Lettie is a marvelous cook.  But one thing she just doesn’t do is vegetables.  I have been to eat at her place multiple times.  And it is always a wonderful meat dish… and rice.  She is Filipino, so it only makes sense.  Two days without rice and a filipino could wither away and die!

Well, in discussing this with my mother, I surmised that the life expectancy of Filipinos must be much less that of a nation like Italy.  This was no scientific study, to be sure.  The Philippines, being still a developing country, has many other reasons for lower life expectancy than vegetables.

So I turned to my trusty tool, Wolfram Alpha, for the data.  If you’ve never used Wolfram Alpha, it is downright amazing at churning through public data for the answers you seek.

I wanted to know the top countries by average life expectancy…  here’s what I got…  5 of the top 10 countries are in Asia.  That was astonishing to me.  And of course, from the map, you can see that Africa is home to the world’s lowest life expectancies.  But what came as a shock to me was that the lowest life expectancies range from 30 – 40 years old!  That’s a sad fact that we endure human suffering in those places when they have problems that can be solved instead of waging war elsewhere in the world.  That’s a topic for another time.

Getting back to the Philippines vs. Italy vs. USA, the average life expectancies are 71, 80, and 78 years of age, respectively.  So while I was right about the difference in life expectancy, I may be totally wrong about the reasons.  But don’t let that be a reason not to eat your vegetables.

Eat your vegetables, dammit!

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