I called Beijing this morning to speak with one of my room-mates from my student days at Fudan University . I wanted to get an up-date on the condition of one of our classmates who is currently being treated for liver cancer. Seeing as I have one of those "unlimited long distance to China" cheap 'phone plans now, we got to talking at length and the subject turned to prematurely deceased members of our class. He said: "You notice how all of them are natives of Shanghai? It is the culture there. There is so much pressure on Shanghai people to be a success. They die early because of disappointment."
I am not sure if this claim would stand the test of a social scientific survey. Another explanation is that the water in Shanghai has always had a bad flavour that one suspects indicates something unhealthy about it.
But my college room-mate`s theory for why our classmates from Shanghai evidently tend to die younger than those from other regions did give me pause for thought.