Many are looking to live long with the combination of good health and bliss, each according to his perception of this term, and researchers are trying to uncover the secret of reaching 90 years and more.
Several factors combine scientifically to extend life expectancy, and none of them should be considered in isolation. However, it has been shown that specific population groups consistently reach 90 years of age and older. These populations have been the subject of much research.
Researchers are seeking to unlock the secrets of longevity by focusing on the “blue zones” – geographic regions that contain some of the world’s oldest.
One of the studies reported by the media focused on Ikaria – a mountainous island located in the eastern Aegean Sea between Mykonos and Samos. (Greece)
Despite the low socio-economic status and the presence of cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes and tobacco smoking), the elderly population of this small island has maintained a relatively good health status.
Low rates of depression, high muscle strength, and good functional abilities were noted in the area.
Japanese perennial Kani Tanaka
Lifestyle is an important modifiable factor that can affect life expectancy.
The researchers conducted a study in order to describe the lifestyle, including social life, diet and physical activity of Ikaria residents aged 90 and over.
Some previous work focused on Ikaria, but it studied the younger population and did not look at the same aspects of a particular social lifestyle.
A cross-sectional observational study was conducted to describe the lifestyle of people aged 90 years or older, who live in Evdilos or Rachis, two municipalities on the Greek island of Ikaria.
71 participants who underwent the Mediterranean Islands Food Frequency Questionnaire (MEDIS-FFQ) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) were interviewed.
The frequency of social contacts came daily for 77.9% of the participants, weekly by 16.1%, and monthly by 5.9%. Accessing primary health care was difficult in the past for 66.2% of participants.
The level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet was 62.7%. Levels of physical activity were moderate or high for 71.8% of the participants.
In conclusion, the researchers concluded, “the participants enjoyed a very high level of family solidarity, social interaction, and physical activity.”
And they added: “The results related to the Mediterranean diet are less convincing. It would be interesting to study the effect of these factors on the longevity of elderly people living in Ikaria.”
The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a set of definitions. But they are generally rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.
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