Having a healthy weight is a characteristic of a healthy lifestyle and should not be a goal in itself. Obviously, everyone knows that they should be doing things that are good for you and not doing things that are bad for you. One way to tell what things are good or bad is to look to groups who tend to have particularly long lifespans and a couple of them are people living in Japan (particularly Okinawa) and the Mediterranean (particularly Sardinia and Calabria in Italy and Icaria, Greece). Dan Buettner identified regions of exceptional human longevity in his article "The Secrets of a Long Life", which was the November 2005 cover story of National Geographic magazine. He found 5 locations (Blue Zones) with high incidences of centenarians:
- Sardinia, Italy
- The islands of Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California, USA
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Icaria, Greece
However, many Blue Zone areas have poor record-keeping and there may be an incentive for some people to report themselves to be older than actual. See The World's Oldest People Might Not Be As Old As We Think
Common characteristics of the older members (90+ years) of these areas include (See How to live to be 100+ - Dan Buettner):
- Move naturally: use human power as much as possible, have physical activities you enjoy and don't be a couch potato.
- Not smoking or smoking infrequently.
- Have the right outlook
- Slow down & minimize stress in your life.
- Always have a sense of purpose in your life
- Eat wisely
- Drink moderately: having red wine with dinner is good.
- Have a mainly plant-based diet with a high consumption of legumes.
- Avoid overeating: stop eating when you reach 80% full.
- Always put loved ones first.
- Belong to a faith-based community.
- Find the right tribe (healthy social circle) to run with. Unhealthy friends tend to result in unhealthy lifestyles.