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Posted May 10, 2001
The Okinawa Program is based on twenty-five years of study into genetics and disease. Eastern cultures are ahead of us when it comes to the science of longevity. Okinawans have fewer health problems, including less heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity and osperporosis. Women also have fewer health issues resulting from their monthly cycles and menopause. The Okinawa Program is aimed at given direction to a healthier, balanced lifestyle, based on long-standing principles presented in this appealing format.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2001
Perspectives on the Lessons of Long-Lived Healthy People in Okinawa
The Okinawa Program deserves more than five stars for its valuable, thoughtful look at how good health can follow from a better lifestyle. This book will undoubtedly become the basis for a change in lifestyle by millions of people. Whether or not it will extend their lives and the length of the healthy period in their lives is something that only time can tell. On the other hand, anyone who follows this advice will probably feel better and have more energy. This book is based on 25 years of research by Dr. Suzuki with those who lived to be over 100 years of age in Okinawa. The Drs. Willcox joined the project in 1994, adding many more measurements and perspectives to what has become an important international research project. The physiological and psychological findings about these centenarians (aged over 100) show them to be healthy, vigorous, and largely free of common Western diseases. The book summarizes the findings, connects the findings to Western research, and outlines ways to follow what was discovered to be associated with better health. The book begins by debunking the idea that there were long-lived people in the Caucasus, Pakistan, and Ecuador with whom similar work could be done. Investigation showed in each case that there was no unusual longeveity in these communities. On the other hand, records dating from the Japanese conquest of Okinawa in 1879 make the Okinawan cases valid. The statistical findings are fascinating. Okinawans live to be over 100 at rates 3 to 7 times more often than Americans. Even more impressive is that the combined rate of heart disease, cancer, and stroke is a small fraction of the American rate. Where one woman in ten will have breast cancer in the United States, the typical Okinawan will probably not even know any one who will get that disease. Mammograms are not even needed as a health screening technique there. Yet, young Okinawans who live a different lifestyle show all the Western diseases. Okinawans who left the area and adopted the lifestyles of the places where they now live experience disease at the same rate as in those locales. The book then dives into the physiological findings. Basically, some Okinawans at 100 have young bodies showing health markers similar to a 40-60 year old in the United States. In fact, they often look 30 years younger than they are. They are physically and mentally active, and do not retire. The bulk of those over 100 still work in the same ways they did when they were younger. The book takes the major statistical differences, and looks for possible clues in the Okinawan lifestyle. The potential causes seem to relate to diet, exercise, spiritual/religious practices, social connections, and mixing Western and Eastern medicine beneficially. The authors go on to suggest changes in the diet recommendations for Americans to reflect this experience, new exercise paths, and a changed approach to lifestyle. The diet recommendations are expressed both in terms of Western-only foods and a mixture of Eastern and Western foods. There is a four week changeover program to help you move from what you do now, to a healthier alternative. As the authors point out, the study itself has some weaknesses. No one can know for sure how much each of these environmental factors contribute. Also, the genetic make-up of Okinawans could mean that results for non-Okinawans could be different. There is also no attempt to adjust for blood type (as the research cited in Live Right 4 Your Type describes). I also think there is a measurement bias towards measurements used by Western scientists looking at certain diseases. For example, I remember Dr. Dean Ornish emphasizing the importance of touching as a factor favoring good health in Love and Survival. This book makes no reference to touching, but I do recall that people in the Philippines touch more than people in any other country (with favorable results for healthWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.