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Longevity records fading for elderly Okinawa men

Date Posted: 2005-08-05

Okinawa has long been the world’s leader in longevity.  Simply, Okinawans lived longer, and lived more productive lives than anywhere else in the world. Now, researchers say that’s changing, particularly for men. Okinawan males, who once were atop the record heap, now rank 27th worldwide, with an average life expectancy to age 76. Researchers say changes in lifestyle, plus suicides, are leading to the decline. They point out that women are maintaining their world rankings. They’ve round a number of reasons for the change, and say many are far from positive. Okinawan men are now working the shortest amount of time of men anywhere in Japan. “What a lazy people they are,” mainland Japanese are saying of Okinawan men, who work only four hours, 25 minutes per day. At the same time, Okinawan men help around the house for only 19 minutes per day, still longer than chores performed by mainland Japanese men. On the other hand, the woman’s work seems never done, with women working longer than four years ago. The State Ministry of Public Management says the survey found women working harder, in addition to working longer hours. The study focused on men, and found that Japanese men spend more time sleeping and lounging than their Okinawan counterparts. A plus for Okinawan men is that they spend roughly 18 minutes per day engaged in exercise, the third highest amount of time in Japan. Officials say most popular activities are walking, fishing, hiking and karate.

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