Hawaii 2011 - Health
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Charles Yogi, in his 90s, eats well and exercises a lot, including
One man shows why we live longer
Charles Yogi has spent 45 years helping Honolulu researchers prove that Hawaii’s population is one of the nation’s healthiest and helping them understand why.
As a participant in the long-term Honolulu Heart Program, Yogi, now in his 90s, has eaten modestly, exercised regularly, limited the fat in his diet, chosen fish more than red meat, munched on vegetables and generally avoided smoking and drinking.
His lifestyle and that of 8,000 other men of Japanese-American ancestry have been studied since the program launched in 1965.
“I think I grew up with less than a full stomach most of the time,” chuckles Yogi from his rural Big Island home. “I think that adds to longevity of life.”
Findings from the study and its offshoots have guided physicians worldwide in treating heart disease and heart attack, warding off stroke, developing smoke-free programs for children and establishing dietary guidelines.
“These men have a mixture of an Eastern and Western lifestyle, which, as a whole, is better,” says Dr. David Curb, the study’s scientific director. “If you go too far one way or the other you will perhaps be less healthy – and probably more so if it’s more Westernized. So the secret, if there is a secret, is for an active lifestyle but with fewer calories, more fish, more vegetables, but also probably a little more protein. The two lifestyles mixed together are more ideal than either one by itself.”
Health researcher Dr. David Curb warns that Hawaii is at a crossroads.
“The Asian population is less prepared genetically to deal with high calories and high-fat diets than are Caucasians. For instance, Asian-Americans are much more likely to get diabetes if they gain weight than are Caucasians.
“We still have a chance to control it. But we need to really start looking closely at what we eat and how much we eat, and make active decisions about our diet and lifestyle.”
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