Monday, December 29, 2014

Loma Linda: The secret to a long healthy life?

In a world where the cost of the obesity crisis is widely acknowledged to be as damaging as smoking and armed conflict, it is refreshing to discover a community that bucks the trend.

It is all the more surprising that the California town of Loma Linda, which oozes good health amongst its inhabitants, is found amidst an urban landscape of fast food restaurants and convenience stores.

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But this is a place that has an enviable record of its residents living to a ripe old age, often without the burdens of chronic illness until very late in life. 101-year-old Betty Streifling (centre) is one of Loma Linda's long-living residents

Studies have shown that people here live up to 10 years longer than most Americans and enjoy better health in their golden years.

The reason for this extraordinary longevity could be rooted in their faith. Seventh-day Adventists make up about half of the approximately 24,000 people who live here. It is an evangelical Christian community that follows strict guidelines about food, exercise and rest.

"The data is clear, the data has been published, the data has been peer reviewed," says Dr Wayne Dysinger, chair of the preventative medicine department at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.

"There's really not a lot of argument that people [living] this lifestyle, live longer."

Full story at the BBC website | BBC World Service radio documentary - listen here