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Lessons From the Healthiest Centenarians

Sardinia, Italy. BALATE DORIN/ GETTY IMAGES


Dan Buettner—an educator, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times-bestselling author—spent over a decade researching the “blue zones,” regions around the world where people live the longest and healthiest. A large percentage lives to 100. They remain active well into their 80s and 90s, and typically do not experience degenerative diseases common in the industrialized world.

Blue zones regions are 1) Ikaria, an island in Greece; 2) Okinawa, an island in Japan; 3) the Barbagia region of Sardinia, Italy; 4) Loma Linda, a small city in San Bernardino County, California; 5) and the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica.

So, what’s their secret? Among the key findings by Mr. Buettner and his research team were that these centenarians have a sense of “belonging” (being part of a faith-based community adds four to 14 years to life expectancy) and have encountered the “right tribe” (world’s longest-lived people have close friends and strong social networks).