Did Ancient Greeks Suffer From Middle-Age Spread?



Middle-age spread; a modern-day problem that worries millions of people or an inherent feature of human nature?

As people get older, the body is may start losing its ability to remain in shape. An increase in bulk, especially in the waist caused not only by the decreasing ability to metabolize calories efficiently but also due to modern unhealthy diets along with sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical exercise, are only some of the main factors contributing to middle-age spread.

It seems though, that it is an issue of the contemporary era, as people in ancient Greece didn’t suffer from it.

But why?

It is commonly accepted by experts that fights, wars, diseases, and poor sanitation meant that the majority of the population in ancient Greece was dying at birth, early childhood or during their twenties.

According to Spectator, a British magazine, during ancient times, very few were the lucky ones to manage to live longer than 30 years.

Some figures suggest that less than 5 percent of the population made it to 60 and 1 percent to 80. Therefore, middle-age was not even a thing, for the ancient Greeks.

Many in antiquity had a completely different concept of time when it came to human aging.

According to Pythagoras, the ancient Greek philosopher, life is divided into four stages:

0–20 was childhood; 20–40 was the adolescence; 40–60 was the youth and 60–80 the old age.

Some others, mainly in Athens, calculated age by the issues concerning the political activity and responsibilities for the state, assuming that the young age was up to 30 and the old started after 60.

Another important reason why ancient Greeks didn’t suffer from middle-age spread was that they were eating less and healthier than contemporary men and women are.

What we know today as the ”Mediterranean diet” was pretty much exactly what the ancient Greeks were consuming on a daily basis with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and fish is on top of their nutritional pyramid.

So, it is safe to say that the ancient Greeks have something to teach us about middle-age spread: Eat healthily, exercise regularly and combat middle-age spread.