Book Review: The Blue Zones

As a medical provider and health-enthusiast I enjoy reading books about extreme athletes, healthy eating and lifestyle modification in general.  No Fifty Shades of Grey in my Kindle (well, OK, you will find plenty of non-educational books on my eReader...but not that one).  My latest lifestyle read was Dan Buettner's The Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest.

Buettner's New York Times bestseller explores longevity.  Buettner and his team of researchers travel to areas of the world identified as having the highest percentage of centenarians, individuals living over the age of 100.  They identify characteristics in each region leading to health and longevity.  Not only are these people old- they are still active.  Interviews of centenarians in each community are fascinating.  From 103 year-old Marge Jetton (pictured below) who lifts weights daily and spends her time volunteering to Ushi Okushima (pictured above) who is still gardening at age 109, Buettner explores how these extraordinary individuals stay healthy...and happy.

Given my medical background, I find The Blue Zones' findings very interesting.  These centenarians have not found a magical supplement to aide their longevity or a cure for chronic disease.  Rather their eating habits, activity levels and sense of community and spirituality keep them well.  

Even if you personally do not wish to live past the age of 100, I highly recommend that all health care providers read The Blue Zone.  It implicitly reminds us that there is no medical substitute for a healthy lifestyle.  It shares evidence that wellness includes more than just one's personal health- a supportive community gives purpose and is therefore necessary for longevity.   Buettner's writing will likely inspire your patient's as well and ultimately makes an interesting read for all. 

 

Side-note:  While locating images for this post, I also discovered a story about a physician who is still practicing three days a week at age 101!