Why Did the People of Roseto Live So Long?

Publication Info: 
Natural Health
Pub. Date Description: 
September/October 1993
Publication Date: 

By Henry Dreher


The small town of Roseto, PA became famous for its surprising longevity and low heart attack rates from the 1930-1960s. Researchers Stewart Wolf, M.D. and John G. Bruhn, M.D., studied this small town. Their findings confirm Dr. Jerry Epstein’s GEMS thesis that social factors hold equal or greater weight than physical health predictors of diet, exercise, and smoking in promoting longevity.  Though most of the community were employed in manual labor exposed to air borne toxins, smoked and ate a high cholesterol diet, their social bonds were strong: these ties included traditions of familial closeness, intra-ethnic marriages, three-generation households, devoted churchgoing, membership in social organizations, and neighborliness. The researchers predicted that as these social ties declined with each generation, their health status would decline to match the surrounding areas.