If you believe in averages and want to live long, don’t live in the United States of America, a country that failed to make it to the top ten for either men or women. Some countries appear to be better for one gender than another. A few countries remain in the top ten for both genders: Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Italy, and Luxembourg. Iceland’s the place to be if you are a man, Spain for women. Worldwide the mean for men is 68.1 and for women 72.7. Sadly, the discrepancy from country to country is immense. Nine countries still show a life expectancy less than 55 years, all in sub-Sahara Africa. War and AIDS take their toll.
Blue Zones remain the place to grow up and live if you desire a long healthy life. Where are they? Okinawa, a peninsula in Costa Rica–I’ve been close, Sardinia, Loma Linda in California–Seventh Day Adventists, to name a few. Genetics, according to some experts, predicts only twenty per cent of longevity. Then why do people in these places live long and healthy? What do they have in common:
-healthy diets with lots of vegetables and fruit
-activity–the people there get a lot of exercise, e.g. climbing up and down the mountains of Sardinia
-a sense of community–people get together often
Some communities in the US plan to become Blue Zones. Fort Worth, Texas, even has a Blue Zone project which includes encouraging restaurants to provide healthier options, a bike share program, and an initiative to combat childhood obesity. My guess is that the United States will lag further and further behind unless the obesity epidemic can be controlled. So far, I don’t see that happening.
What can you do to prolong your own life:
-eats lots of fruit and vegetables
-eat less meat and more fish
-eat less–Okinawans quit eating when they are 80 per cent full; they even have a saying for this
-spend time with friends and family
-find ways to increase your exercise even if it is as simple as throwing away your TV remote control
If I live the average of my parents and grandparents, I have a long way to go so I must take care of myself to stay healthy.