According to statistics released last week Sicilian women may now expect to live until they are 83 and men until they are 78. This represents increases of 1.3% and 1.6% respectively as compared with 2004.
Circulatory disease is the main cause of death in Sicily for both sexes and the figure, at 43%, is higher than the national average. The second most common cause of death is cancer, presenting as breast cancer in women and colon or rectal cancer in men.
If I may make a totally personal and medically unfounded observation on this point, I have noticed quite a high instance of colonic illness even in my immediate circle and it is my theory that, despite the Arabic influences of their past, the fact that Sicilians have not adopted more of the spice cookery of the Mediterranean may play a part here.
However, there is hope for those who live in Ispica [a little town about 10 minutes from Modica]:
"Chi viene a Ispica compierà 100 anni - Those who come to Ispica will live to the age of 100."
I hope that residence is not a qualification and that my occasional visits will suffice.