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Three U.S. medical students visit for longevity study

Date Posted: 2002-06-28

A group of three medical students are currently on a three-month visit to Okinawa in order to study the notorious longevity of island’s people. Okinawa has the largest percentage of centenarians in its population and the students will conduct studies covering the effects of local nutrition and hereditary reasons on people’s longevity.

The students conduct their research under supervision of Professor Makoto Suzuki of Okinawa International University who in cooperation with doctors Bradley & Graig Willcox last year authored a book titled “The Okinawa Program.” In the book they listed the results of their 25-year study on the longevity of Okinawans. The book subsequently became an international best seller.

In the course of their study, the students will interview several centenarians and research their medical records. “In the U.S. people tend to compartmentalize their life style dividing it into nutrition, exercise, culture and so on, where it seems to me that Okinawan people take a more wholesome view,” a student from the group who studies at the University of Alabama said.

“Of course the American know about the importance of a healthy diet, exercise and other things affecting human life. But it’s good to let them see firsthand the Okinawan perspective,” Professor Suzuki says. “The more we can spread the knowledge of the Okinawan way of life to the world, the better.”

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