Friends and family may help Italians live healthier and longer

(CNN)If you think longevity solely comes down to genes and diet, think again. So what exactly is behind Melis’ fitness at his impressive age? Dr. Gianni Pes studied the population of this area — one of the world’s “Blue Zones,” an area with an extraordinarily long-living population — and thinks people live longer and more healthily here because they do more physical activity outdoors and feel strong connections to each other. “The community is strong and gives support to old people,” he said. For example, there are no nursing homes in the village of Arzana in Sardinia. “Elderly people stay within the family until the end of their existence,” Pes said. People who lack social connections have 50% higher odds …