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Blue zones are regions of the world thought to have a higher than usual number of people live much longer than average, identified by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain. Five "Blue zones" have been posited: Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and Loma Linda (California, USA).
The concept of Blue Zones grew out of demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, published in 2004 by the journal Experimental Gerontology, who identified Sardinia's Nuoro province as the region with the highest concentration of male centenarians. As the two men zeroed in on the cluster of villages with the highest longevity, they began referring to the area as the "Blue Zone". Blue Zones support the ideas of healthy eating, active lifestyles and community involvement.
Through continued research, the following four areas have been identified as Blue Zones:
- Sardinia, Italy (particularly Ogliastra, Barbagia of Ollolai, and Barbagia of Seulo): A village called Seulo, located in the Barbagia of Seulo, holds the record of 20 centenarians from 1996 to 2016, that confirms it is "the place where people live the longest in the world".
- The islands of Okinawa, Japan
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Icaria, Greece
In 1998, a study carried out on the eating habits of the population of Yuzurihara, where the inhabitants grew very old with the best quality of life. Another research group of the University of California, in collaboration with the University of Rome La Sapienza, is investigating temporal blue zones in Italy outside of Sardinia.
A study of claimed longevity in Okinawa was unable to verify whether or not people there were as old as they claimed because many records did not survive WWII. More recent data has shown that life expectancy in Okinawa is no longer exceptional when compared to the rest of Japan: "male longevity is now ranked 26th among the 47 prefectures of Japan."
- AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project
- Alameda County Study
- Research into centenarians
- Gerontology Research Group
- "Blue Zones—Live Longer, Better". Blue Zones. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
- Poulain, Michel; Pes, Giovanni Mario; Grasland, Claude; Carru, Ciriaco; Ferrucci, Luigi; Baggio, Giovannella; Franceschi, Claudio; Deiana, Luca (2004-09-01). "Identification of a geographic area characterized by extreme longevity in the Sardinia island: the AKEA study" (PDF). Experimental Gerontology. 39 (9): 1423–1429. doi:10.1016/j.exger.2004.06.016. PMID 15489066. S2CID 21362479. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-01-07. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
- Poulain, Michel; Herm, Anne; Pes, Gianni. The Blue Zones: areas of exceptional longevity around the world in: Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, vol. 11, 2013, p. 87-108.
- "Seulo, il paese più longevo del mondo Soprannomi e segreti del paese dei record - Cronaca". L'Unione Sarda.it. 2016-04-03. Archived from the original on 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2016-11-27.
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- Poulain, Michel (2011-07-21). "Exceptional Longevity in Okinawa:: A Plea for In-depth Validation". Demographic Research. 25 (7): 245–284. doi:10.4054/DemRes.2011.25.7.
- Hokama, Tomiko; Binns, Colin (October 2008), "Declining longevity advantage and low birthweight in Okinawa", Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health, 20 Suppl: 95–101, PMID 19533867
- Hall, Harriet. (2021). "Blue Zones Diet: Speculation Based on Misinformation". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 15 October 2021.