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Okinawan Longevity Threatened By Hamburgers and Fried Chicken

Date Posted: 2000-04-14

A Tokyo-based nutrition school Hattori Eiou Semmon Gakko has published a study on the eating habits of children in Okinawa’s northern areas. The study started in December. According to the study, the children’s favorites are Okinawan soba and soki jiru, a meal of cooked pork ribs, green vegetables and miso-based broth. The least favored were bitter-tasting vegetables with the notable exception of goya or bitter melon. Goat meat based meals also scored low on the childrens’ list. Many universities and other institutions send research teams to Okinawa to study the dietary habits of Okinawa, believed to be one of the main reasons for the famed longevity of local people. The researchers also asked the children’s opinion of 20 traditional Okinawan foods featured in a cookery book published by the Okinawa Prefecture. The exotic meals in the book, including such local delicacies as pickled pork ears, liver soup, goat soup, and nabera, a cucumber-like vegetable used in salads (mainland Japanese use it as a washing brush) were no favorites either. Instead, the children like hamburgers, taco rice and fried chicken scored high. That is a trend that worries some nutritionists.

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