California is the only American region identified as a Blue Zone among four others around the world.

Monday, September 13, 2021

 California is the only American region identified as a Blue Zone among four others around the world. These areas have people who live the longest. The city has a high percentage of Seventh Day Adventists, who have what is considered one of the healthiest styles of living.


Blue Zones are regions of the world where a higher than a usual number of people live much longer than average. The term first appeared in Dan Buettner's November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story, "The Secrets of a Long Life". Five "Blue Zones" have been posited: Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, based on evidence showing why these populations live healthier and longer lives than others.


History

The concept of Blue Zones grew out of demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain outlined in the journal Experimental Gerontology, who identified Sardinia's Nuoro province as the region with the highest concentration of male centenarians. As the two men zeroed in on the cluster of villages with the highest longevity, they drew concentric blue circles on the map and began referring to the area inside the circle as the "Blue Zone". Together with demographers Pes and Poulain, Buettner broadened the term, applying it to validated longevity areas of Okinawa, Japan and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. Buettner and Poulain, under the aegis of National Geographic, then identified and validated longevity hotspots in Nicoya, Costa Rica and Icaria, Greece.


Buettner mentions in his book that people are doing the right things for long enough, and avoiding the wrong things," there are four main things that people in those zones do in order to live healthier and longer lives, and they consist of moving regularly, which does not consist of exercise alone, but doing daily energy burst habits throughout the day. The second aspect is living with purpose, having a reason to get up every day, and living with perspective. The third aspect of blue zone populations is the social support they receive from friends and family allowing them to move through life outcomes more smoothly. Fourth but not least is the concept that most still do not understand, which is making the "healthy choice the easy choice", and not just an option. Living by these four concepts brings longevity and mental and physical benefits to one's life and society.


Blue Zones

The five regions that are identified in the book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest are:


  • Sardinia, Italy (particularly Ogliastra, Barbagia of Ollolai, and Barbagia of Seulo): One team of demographers found a hot spot of longevity in mountain villages where a substantial proportion of men reach 100. In particular, a village called Seulo, located in the Barbagia of Seulo holds the record of 20 centenarians from 1996 to 2016, which confirms it is "the place where people live the longest in the world".
  • The islands of Okinawa, Japan: Another team examined a group that is among the longest-lived on Earth.
  • Loma Linda, California: Researchers studied a group of Seventh-day Adventists who rank among North America's longest-lived people.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica: The peninsula was the subject of research on a Quest Network expedition which began on January 29, 2007.
  • Icaria, Greece: An April 2009 study on the island of Icaria uncovered the location with the highest percentage of 90-year-olds on the planet, where nearly 1 out of 3 people make it to their 90s. Furthermore, Icarians "have about 20 percent lower rates of cancer, 50 percent lower rates of heart disease, and almost no dementia."


Residents of these places produce a high rate of centenarians, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more years of good health.


Based on research results in the fields of biogerontology and epigenetics, the term "Blue Zones" is also used for areas whose native flora grows under special conditions and can effectively counteract the aging process. Forschungsgruppe Haslberger of the University of Vienna, in cooperation with the Blue Zones, research secondary plant substances from such areas, which could have been used in the area of anti-aging, neurodegenerative diseases, and geriatric diseases. In 1998, a study was carried out on the eating habits of the population of Yuzurihara, where the inhabitants grew very old with the best quality of life. Another research group of the University of California, in collaboration with the University of Rome La Sapienza, is investigating temporal blue zones in Italy outside of Sardinia.

Reference

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