YAKIMA, Wash. -- The premise is simple: How long humans live is determined 10 percent by genes and 90 percent by lifestyle.
It’s what you do — how you live — that dictates how long you will live, according to New York Times best-selling author Dan Buettner, who has traveled the world studying specific places where high percentages of the population lives well into their 80s and 90s and even past 100.
Wednesday morning, Buettner talked about those locations in a lecture titled “Blue Zones: Living Longer and Better — What Really Works” at Yakima’s Capitol Theatre.
His talk was part of the Yakima Town Hall Lecture Series. The nonprofit organization has been bringing internationally known speakers to Yakima for nearly 40 years. Season tickets are $75.
Buettner, 49, of Minneapolis, was the second speaker of the 2009-2010 season. During his talk, he took the audience on a trip around the world, sharing photographs and vignettes from Sardinia, Okinawa, Costa Rica, Loma Linda, Calif. and the Greek island of Ikaria.
“They’re getting the good years we all deserve,” Buettner said. “We’re leaving about 12 good years on the table.”
His talk — based on his book, “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” — shared insights into how people in these communities live and offered tips that could add years to people’s lives.
“The chance any of us will reach 100 is not that great,” he said. “You actually have a better chance with your IRA, as unlikely as that sounds. You’re not hardwired for longevity.”
From the view point of an evolutionary biologist, he said, “You’re designed for something called procreative success.”
Still, there are things you can do to live longer, like getting seven hours of sleep a night, eating a primarily plant-based diet and eating less in general. A couple glasses of red wine each day are OK, too.
What changes has he made in his own life since conducting his longevity research?
Buettner says he does yoga, bikes to work — about 20 miles a week — and walks alot. Plus, “I’ve cut most meat out of my diet.”
BY ADRIANA JANOVICH
Posted October 21, 2009
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