Track the Team: November 11, 2005
Follow our quest to unlock the secrets of longevity in Okinawa by clicking on the dates, below or to the left. Watch the team's findings unfold in video and photos posted regularly from the field.*
The locals on the lush subtropical archipelago of Okinawa, Japan, are renowned for living long, healthy lives. The average life expectancy is 82 years, among the longest in the world. Okinawans also have a fifth of the heart disease, a fourth of the breast and prostate cancer, and a third less dementia than Americans.
So what are they doing right? Okinawans keep a low-calorie, plant-based diet; maintain strong bonds with friends and family; and possess a strong sense of purpose, or ikigai, which translates roughly to "that which makes one's life worth living." Whether it's biking, fishing, or hanging out with friends, this sense of purpose may act as a buffer against stress and disease such as hypertension, helping make Okinawans longevity stars.
To find out what else keeps them going, follow findings from the expedition.