[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Secrets of Longevity
Feature Main Page
Photo Gallery
On Assignment
Learn More
Sights & Sounds
Sights & Sounds
Sights and Sounds Image
Unlock the secrets of longevity.

Photo: Resident of Okinawa
Cast your vote and direct our longevity quest in Okinawa, Japan, from October 31-November 11, 2005.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Learn More
In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

Content Jump Links:
 Did You Know?  
 Related Links  
 NGS Resources  

Did You Know?Did You Know?

Seventh-day Adventists are known for living long, healthy lives. One famous follower of Adventism was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. In the late 1800s the doctor took over operations at the Battle Creek, Michigan, sanitarium, a Seventh-day Adventist holistic healing center. (Kellogg eventually left the Adventist Church due to doctrinal and administrative differences.)
At the sanitarium Kellogg promoted a vegetarian diet, claiming that since humans and primates had similar digestive tracts, people should follow a natural diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Kellogg concocted healthy alternatives to vary the menu for patients. Kellogg found that by steaming—rather than grinding—wheat and putting it through rollers, he could make wheat flakes. He served these flakes to patients as a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Another favorite among the patients was Kellogg's mixture of oatmeal and cornmeal together, which he baked into a biscuit and then ground into bits. He called it granola.
The popularity of these breakfast foods soon transformed Battle Creek. Copycat cereal manufacturers popped up overnight, and the town became the birthplace of the cereal industry. Kellogg's more business-minded brother, W. K. Kellogg, had assisted John Harvey with odd jobs at the sanitarium. W. K. wanted to mass market the flaked foods, but his older brother preferred to keep production on a smaller scale. W. K. went on to create the Kellogg company, which today markets corn flakes and many other brands of cereals (with sugar added).
Even patients profited from John Harvey Kellogg's nutritional advice. C. W. Post, an inventor, had been admitted for an upset stomach. Post liked the cereal-based coffee substitute served at the sanitarium so much that after he left, he tried to convince Kellogg to partner with him and sell a coffee substitute to the public. Kellogg declined. Post moved ahead on his project, sold the coffee alternative, and became a multimillionaire. Today his Post cereal company is also known for its Grape Nuts and Post Toasties, among other products.
—Christy Ullrich

Related Links

Five a Day
Follow the American Cancer Association guidelines for fruits and vegetables and prevent disease.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Explore the nutritional guidelines for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 
Okinawa Centenarian Study
Follow the examples of the amazing centenarians of Okinawa, Japan—you could live longer.
Harvard School for Public Health
Learn about health food recommendations from Harvard experts.
World Health Organization
The World Health Report 2004 lists the countries whose residents live the longest, healthiest lives.
Seventh-day Adventists
Explore the beliefs of some of America's longevity all-stars.


Fraser, Gary. Diet, Life Expectancy, and Chronic Disease: Studies of Seventh-day Adventists and Other Vegetarians. Oxford University Press, 2003.
Parker-Pope, Tara. "What Science Tells Us About Growing Older, and Staying Healthy." Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2005.
Poulain, Michel, and others. "Identification of a Geographic Area Characterized by Extreme Longevity in the Sardinia Island, the AKEA study." Experimental Gerontolog (2004) 1423-9.
Willcox, Bradley, D. Craig Willcox, and Makoto Suzuki. The Okinawa Program: How the World's Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health—and How You Can Too. Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2001.

NGS Resources

Weiss, Rick. "Aging—New Answers to Old Questions." National Geographic (November 1997), 2-31.
Leaf, Alexander. "Every Day Is a Gift When You Are Over 100." National Geographic (January 1973), 92-119. 
Bell, Alexander Graham. "Who Shall Inherit Long Life? On the Existence of a Natural Process at Work Among Human Beings Tending to Improve the Vigor and Vitality of Succeeding Generations." National Geographic (June 1919), 504-14.
E-Mail this Page to a Friend