Rise in cancer and obesity in Crete

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Living high in the Cretan mountains, breathing fresh air and walking along shepherds’ paths, may sound like the healthiest way of life. Unfortunately this is not the case for the inhabitants of the mountain village of Anogia, whose heath has changed for the worse due to their modern lifestyle and bad habits.

According to professor of Preventative Medicine Dr Kafatos, cancer rates in Anogia between 1980 and 2000 have tripled, reaching the national average. In Tymbaki, on the contrary – an area known for its greenhouses and high pesticide use –
there has been only a slight rise of 3% over the same period.

According to Dr Kafatos, the reasons for the huge rise in cancer rates in Anogia are excessive smoking, alcohol consumption and red meat consumption. Viruses from the thousands of sheep and goats in Anogian flocks may also play a part. The inhabitants themselves admit that lack of exercise, after trucks became the main means of transport, also affects their health.

In the Messara, cancer may not have increased so dramatically, but there is another ‘record’: the highest percentage of obese people in the whole of Greece.

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