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Could You Increase Life Expectancy By Living In A Blue Zone
David Johnston - John R Wood
239 290 0044
Could you Increase life Expectancy by Living in a Blue Zone ? Read below.
Naples has started an initiative to become a Blue Zone. Will share that initiative with you in the next blog.
Blue Zones History
In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people live measurably longer better. In these “Blue Zones” they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States.
After identifying 5 of the world’s Blue Zones, Dan and National Geographic took teams of scientists to each location to identify lifestyle characteristics that might explain longevity. They found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones residents shared nine specific characteristics. We call these characteristics the Power 9®.
Dan’s subsequent book The Blue Zones hit the New York Times best-seller list and took Dan everywhere from Oprah to TED to Bill Clinton’s Health Matters Initiative. The success prompted a new challenge: could we improve health and longevity in the US?
In 2009 we partnered with AARP and the United Health Foundation to apply the Power 9 principles to Albert Lea, MN (learn more about our approach). It worked: after just one year, participants added an estimated 2.9 years to their average lifespan while healthcare claims for city worker dropped 49%. Harvard’s Walter Willett called the results ‘stunning’ (learn more about the Blue Zones Projects).
We are now building Blue Zones in cities and businesses across the country. Our mission – to help people live longer, better lives – is spreading. Learn how you can get involved.
Posted on April 9, 2014 by Dan Buettner
Reverse Engineering Longevity
By Dan Buettner
Life expectancy of an American born today averages 78.2 years. But this year, over 70,000 Americans have reached their 100th birthday. What are they doing that the average American isn’t (or won’t?)
To answer the question, we teamed up with National Geographic to find the world’s longest-lived people and study them. We knew most of the answers lied within their lifestyle and environment (The Danish Twin Study established that only about 20% of how long the average person lives is determined by genes.). Then we worked with a team of demographers to find pockets of people around the world with the highest life expectancy, or with the highest proportions of people who reach age 100.
We found five places that met our criteria:
Barbagia region of Sardinia – Mountainous highlands of inner Sardinia with the world’s highest concentration of male centenarians.
Ikaria, Greece – Aegean Island with one of the world’s lowest rates of middle age mortality and the lowest rates of dementia.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – World’s lowest rates of middle age mortality, second highest concentration of male centenarians.
Seventh Day Adventists – Highest concentration is around Loma Linda, California. They live 10 years longer than their North American counterparts.
Okinawa, Japan – Females over 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.
We then assembled a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists to search for evidence-based common denominators among all places. We found nine:
1. Move Naturally The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
2. Purpose. The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy
3. Down Shift Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.
4. 80% Rule “Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the Blue Zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
5. Plant Slant Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of deck or cards.
6. Wine @ 5 People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all weekend and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
7. Belong All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
8. Loved Ones First Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).
9. Right Tribe The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.
To make it to age 100, you have to have won the genetic lottery. But most of us have the capacity to make it well into our early 90’s and largely without chronic disease. As the Adventists demonstrate, the average person’s life expectancy could increase by 10-12 years by adopting a Blue Zones lifestyle.
Call or email me if you want more information about Naples initiative to become a Blue Zone. 239 290 0044
John R Wood
787 5th Ave South
239 290 0044
Rowan Samuel has lived many lives. Originally from Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), he and his family immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 to escape the brutal Mugabe regime - they lost everything when they came to Am....