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ANTI-AGING                  tao wisdom to live long  LIFE SPAN AND GENES
longevity  how to live long       wisdom in the art of living well
The Okinawa Centenarian Study

Stephen Lau

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The Okinawa Centenarian Study

By Stephen Lau

The Okinawa Centenarian Study was a study on the relationship between centenarians and their longevity profile and healthy living . This important study was conducted because Okinawa has more centenarians than the rest of the world. The terms of reference of the study were to understand why and how the healthy living of Okinawans has accounted for their longevity.

Over the years, scientists have been conducting research on the longevity profile and the healthy living of the centenarians in Okinawa, generally known as the The Okinawa Centenarian Study.


At present, there are about 10 centenarians per 100,000 people in most industrialized countries.

Currently, there are approximately 40,000 centenarians in the United States, or a little more than 10 centenarians per 100,000 people, although it is difficult to estimate precisely since there was no national birth registration system in the United States until 1940. Approximately 85 percent of them are women and 15 percent are men. This ratio is about the same or a little higher than that of other developed countries.

According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study, there is a much higher prevalence of centenarians in Okinawa, a state of Japan, consisting of a group of 44 inhabited islands that stretch 800 miles between the Japan main islands and Taiwan. Okinawa has the longest life expectancy in Japan, and probably in the world: at 86.01 years for women, and 77.64 years for men.

In the Okinawa Centenarian Study, as of 2003, approximately 560 centenarians out of a population of 1.27 million Okinawans have been identified.


One of the most important aspects of the Okinawa Centenarian Study is that it is based on solid evidence. The most important evidence needed for any centenarian study is reliable age-verification data.

In Okinawa, there used to be only 32 centenarians in 1976 when the Okinawa Centenarian Study was first started; however, in 2003, there were approximately 560 centenarians in a population of 1.27 million, or 42 centenarians per 100,000 people, and 86 percent of them are women.

How many live to a hundred? What does it feel to be a centenarian?

The findings of the Okinawa Centenarian Study have presented an enlightening longevity profile of Okinawans.

Good genes

Elderly Okinawans look young and healthy, probably due to their good genes, which are important for healthy aging.

Low blood levels of free radicals

According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study, elderly Okinawans have relatively lower blood levels of free radicals, placing them at lower risk for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Low cardiovascular risk

Elderly Okinawans have generally clean arteries, low cholesterol, and low homocysteine levels, when compared to Westerners. These factors help reduce their risk for coronary heart disease by up to 80 percent and significantly reduce stroke potential.

Low risk for hormone-dependent cancers

The Okinawa Centenarian Study also points out that the elderly Okinawans are at extremely low risk for hormone-dependent cancers, such as cancers of the breast, prostate, ovaries, and colon. Such low incidence of cancer is probably due to low-calorie intake, high-vegetables / fruits consumption, high intake of good fats (omega-3, mono-unsaturated fat), high-fiber diet, high-flavonoid intake, low body-fat level, and high level of physical activity.

Low osteoporosis risk

Okinawans have about 20 percent fewer hip fractures than do mainland Japanese, and Japanese have about 40 percent fewer hip fractures than Americans.

Low dementia rate

Elderly Okinawans have low dementia rate, compared to other elderly populations elsewhere. Even into their late 90’s, Okinawans have much lower dementia rate than that reported for comparable population in the United States.

Body fitness

Okinawan elders are lean, with average body mass index (BMI) that ranges from 18 to 22 (lean is less than 23). The Okinawans have traditionally kept eating a low-calorie and low-glycemic diet. It is their culture to eat until they are only 80 percent full. Unlike in the United States, obesity is never a problem in Okinawa.

To be like Okinawans, you need a powerful mind to change your body.

Natural menopause

Another important finding is that there are virtually no women in Okinawa using estrogen replacement therapy. They experience menopause naturally without the aid of pharmaceutical drugs. As a result, they experience fewer complications, such as hot flashes, hip fractures, or coronary heart disease. Okinawan women have a very high intake of natural estrogens through their diet, mainly from the large quantities of soy they consume. They have healthy living throughout their lives.

It should be noted that all plants, especially legumes (beans, peas), onions, and broccoli, contain natural estrogens, but not nearly as much as soy and flax.

Learn how to deal with menopause naturally.

More youthful hormones

According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study, Okinawan elders have higher levels of sex hormones, including natural DHEA, estrogen, and testosterone, than similarly aged Americans, suggesting that the Okinawans are physiologically younger and more active sexually even as they age. DHEA is a steroid produced in the human adrenal gland, and some studies suggest that it may combat aging.

Excellent spiritual health

The Okinawa Centenarian Study indicates that Okinawan elders mostly display easy-going personality, self-confidence, optimism, and adaptability. Strong social integration and a deep spirituality are particularly evident among older women. They lead an anti-aging lifestyle

Integrative health care

Another finding of the Okinawa Centenarian Study is that Okinawans incorporate both Eastern and Western healing methods into their health care system.

Interestingly, Okinawa, Japan, and Hong Kong are the top three areas of the world in life expectancy, and they all share an important common characteristic of incorporating both Eastern and Western approaches to healing in their health care systems. The use of natural or herbal tonics in these populations far exceeds that of North America. (For more information on natural healing, go to my website
Self-Healing Self-Help.)

The Okinawa Centenarian Study enables you to perceive how and why Okinawans have a great number of centenarians. If you wish to live long, follow their exemplary anti-aging wisdom
and healthy-living lifestyle.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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