In the previous four parts, we have been learning about the populations who live the healthiest and longest and the reasons for their success.
In part 4, we learned that the most important link to health and longevity is having good coping mechanisms for stress and we also found out that the residents of Glasgow, UK have the shortest lifespan in the world and the genetic reasons for that.
Today we conclude the documentary entitled “How to Live to 101″, by revisiting the residents from Okinawa, Japan and seeing if their health and longevity still prevails when they emigrate to new countries or in their children’s generations. Watch the last part now, and follow up with the summary of this session after your viewing.
In today’s final part we were introduced to the Okinawans who emigrated to Hawaii and the researchers tested their new generations there and back home in Okinawa to see if they were holding up with the great health and longevity. Unfortunately the news was quite sad in that what the studies show is that when the Okinawans emigrate to other countries, but especially to the Western world and adopt American eating habits, their health and longevity is greatly compromised. Even back home, the researchers told us the new generations are not going in the footsteps of their grandparents, instead indulging in Western like diets and habits of fast food, smoking and drinking just to name a few.
In another study I read about I also learned about this link. When researchers studied Japanese women, they found that prevalence of breast cancer increased in second generation Japanese women as they too adopted American eating habits.
What I found interesting though is that the researchers said, the effect of an American diet is worse on the healthier people who emigrate here then on those who were permanent residents here and brought up on this diet. Perhaps this makes the average American feel better, but I would not be celebrating too fast. What the researchers concluded with, I found most valuable from today’s video. And that was that “the secrets of a long life can be found by observing the people who have it” and hence learning from them. There is a gene-environment interaction that needs to be observed for healthy aging. And based on this we need to know who to observe to get the best benefits.
I often get comments from my students like “but look at so and so, they eat or drink all this…. and they are still fine”. The reason for this is simple, and on the other hand quite complicated. There is so much involved in the genetics, body type, sex, age, nationality of a person that to really see if they are fine numerous tests would have to be done. But at the same time, I can pretty much assertively conclude – they are never “fine”. Just because a person is slim or not keeling over from diseases does not mean they are “fine” or for that matter “healthy”. No one can make those conclusions unless they truly study that subject thoroughly inside and out. And so when we look at others for examples we do have to keep in mind to look at the good examples and base our health and habits on that – not the bad examples whose bodies are often masking the problems in various ways.
I find it sad a little, that such a successfully healthy community like Okinawa, Japan may have seen its last healthiest and longest living inhabitants in the older generations. It is unfortunate that the new generations do not see the urgency in looking at their parents and grandparents when it comes to their own health. But we need to look no further then at our own lives and countries, how many of us have good examples for health and longevity all around us and we choose to look past them or ignore them for whatever our reasons may be.
Ultimately what kind of habits you want to engage in, what kind of diet you want to eat and how you will choose to treat your body is your choice. But remember that with every choice comes a consequence and in today’s world it is very difficult to use the excuse “but I didn’t know”. Good examples for healthy living are all around us, even amidst all the fast, processed and pill form food. Our only choice then becomes what are we going to turn to when we want information on what to eat, drink and habits to engage in.
I hope you enjoyed our 5 part series of “How to live to 101” and perhaps learned a thing or two or were inspired by some of the outstanding people we met. I know I have.
Anytime you feel you would like to recap the main conclusions reached in this 5 part series, check out the article entitled “10 Guidelines for a Long and Healthy Life.”
LIVE LONG, LIVE HEALTHY, LIVE HAPPY!