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How a Strong Community Creates Longevity

The blue zones, a term coined by author Dan Buettner, are the regions where people reach a

healthy and high quality old age life. The 5 blue zones are: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy;

Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.





(1) When exploring the phenomena of the blue zone communities, we have to analyze their lifestyles to understand why they can live up to 90 or even 100 years old. On their trips to the regions, Buettner and the National Geographic team discovered that most of these places have something interesting in

common. They all have a strong bond with their community and family which is one of the secrets to living a long and fulfilling life.



As a nonprofit, we found it fascinating that in Loma Linda one of the main ways the community

bonds is by helping others. They are an Adventist community that believes volunteering leads to

godliness. They build the community around the activity and in return benefit their health. A

study by the American Psychological Association concluded that people who volunteered for

others had lower mortality rates than non-volunteers. (2) They also speak about finding your right tribe with people who have healthy habits because they can influence one’s behavior. Loma Linda is strengthening their community by volunteering and being productive with each other which is a big factor of longevity.



In Sardinia, the elders are cared for by their family during their sickness contributing to longevity

as opposed to being hospitalized or in a nursing home. Their building block to the community is

family as well in the other blue zones. These regions value their elders and the knowledge they

gain from them and don’t send them to retirement homes where there is a possibility for neglect.

Isolation increased the risk of early death by 32% and loneliness increased the risk of early

death by 19%, according to a study by the Nature Human Behaviour Journal. (3) By keeping the family close during sickness and health, they are lengthening their time here on Earth.





Lastly, in Okinawa a group of friends create a money pool for helping each other out in times of need. They refer to this group as a “moai”. When coming to this financial agreement, they are putting their trust in their peers so they must create trust among themselves. They often spend time with each other everyday laughing and socializing, growing that trust.

This is similar to Loma Linda’s right tribe concept.


The blue zones show us the importance of community bonding and how socializing on a daily

basis is healthy for one’s mental state. They also show us that the actions around strengthening

the community can also keep us active and grounded. The blue zone regions all live with

intention and purpose which makes it easier to reach longevity. To learn more about the blue zones, you can watch “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones” on Netflix.


References

1. https://www.bluezones.com/about/history/

2. https://optimistoutlook.com/how-volunteering-can-have-a-positive-impact/#:~:text=The%20study%20showed%20that%20people,and%20socio%2Deconomic%20backgrounds%20studied.

3. https://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20230620/socially-isolated-lonely-people-more-likely-to-die-early

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