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 Do these countries hold the secret to a long and healthy life?

People are living longer than ever before. Today, the majority worldwide can safely see themselves living into their sixties, according to the World Health Organization.

The country where people live longest — measured as life expectancy at age 60 — is Japan.
Coming a close second are a string of countries spanning the Mediterranean and East Asia, as well as countries with strong economies and healthcare systems.
By measuring life expectancy at age 60, factors such as childhood illness and issues earlier in life are discounted and longevity is more related to an individual’s lifestyle and environment during older age.
We asked a selection of aging experts why these countries are outliving the rest — and what secrets they hold to longer life.

Japanese values

Japanese people who make it to age 60 will live on to an average age of 86 — longer than anywhere else in the world.
More than a quarter of the country’s population are now over the age of 64 and the communities of Okinawa house the greatest proportion of centenarians of anywhere worldwide.
“Part of that is the traditional Japanese diet,” says John Beard, director of Aging and Life-course at the World Health Organization (WHO). That diet includes plenty of fresh fish and vegetables, combined with low levels of meat and saturated fat. “But the traditional diet has changed,” says Beard, speculating there is more to it than simply food.
“Another part of it is lifestyle … and that they have systems which identify and treat key issues like blood pressure,” says Beard. Active lifestyles into older years are the norm in Japan, helped by the country’s extensive rural landscape getting people outdoors, and further aided by a well-established health infrastructure.
Sarah Harper, professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford cites other reasons for Japanese longevity. “They tend to have a society which tends to promote a strong family set up and stress-relieving cultural activities,” she says. Furthermore, Japan has less social inequality than many other countries, enabling everyone to experience these benefits.
A good diet, active lifestyle in the older years, stress relief and lots of support — whilst we may know this is crucial, not all countries are adopting it.
To read the whole article from CNN – click here
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Cathy Bowers, RD

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