THE OKINAWA PROGRAM

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The Authors

BRADLEY J. WILLCOX, M.D., M.Sc., is an internist and a geriatrics fellow in the Division on Aging at Harvard Medical School. He is also a resident scholar at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, and a co-investigator of the Okinawa Centenarian Study.

D. CRAIG WILLCOX, Ph.D., is a medical anthropologist and a gerontologist. He is an assistant professor at Okinawa Prefectural University–College of Nursing and a co-investigator of the Okinawa Centenarian Study. The Willcoxes are identical twins.

MAKOTO SUZUKI, M.D., Ph.D., is a cardiologist and a geriatrician. He is on the faculties of the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa International University. He is the principal investigator of the Okinawa Centenarian Study.

Summary 

The Okinawa Program, authored by a team of internationally renowned experts, is based on the landmark scientifically documented twenty-five-year Okinawa Centenarian Study, a Japanese Ministry of Health-sponsored study. This breakthrough book reveals the diet, exercise, and lifestyle practices that make the Okinawans the healthiest and longest-lived population in the world. 

Review

This book describes the results of an in-depth field study on the lifestyle habits of Okinawans, and in general of centenarians -- people over 100 years old. 

The book concludes that the reason for the good health and longevity seen in Okinawa is the result of lifestyle. Key findings include: 

Reliance on traditional diets that include vegetables, rice and fresh fish rich in omega-3; 

Moderate exercise, usually through walking, taking care of gardens, or martial arts such as aikido or karate; 

A strong social fabric, both with neighbours as well as relatives; 

Avoiding unhealthy habits such as stress or a western diet rich in saturated fats and cholesterol. 

The findings of the Study are very similar to those observed in the so-called Blue Zone areas such as certain Greek islands, where much the same diet and lifestyle exist. 

This is excellent reading for anyone wishing to learn more about the balance between lifestyle, health and wellness. It is also very encouraging in terms of preparing for retirement.