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The Okinawa Program: How the World's Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health--And How You Can Too Paperback – Mar 12 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (March 12 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609807501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609807507
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.1 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

If ever there were a prescription for longevity, the folks of Okinawa, a collection of islands strung between Japan and Taiwan, have found it. Considered the world's healthiest people, residents of this tropical archipelago routinely live active, independent lives well into their 90s and 100s. Their rates of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, memory loss, menopause, and breast, colon and prostate cancer rank far below the rates for these illnesses in America and other industrialized countries. In fact, researchers believe many Okinawans are physically younger than their chronological ages. In essence, the Okinawans have found a way to beat the clock.

How do they do it? In The Okinawa Program, Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D., and Makoto Suzuki, M.D. reveal the islanders' age-defying secrets. Of course, there are really no surprises here: a low-fat diet, exercise, stress management, strong social and family ties, and spiritual connectedness--the same things experts have been recommending for years--all play key roles in keeping the Okinawans youthful. But in this fascinating read, which is peppered with inspiring anecdotes about these remarkable people, the authors provide concrete evidence that adopting these healthy habits pays off significantly in terms of tacking more productive years onto our lives.

Based on the authors' 25-year Okinawa Centenarian Study, this extraordinarily well-written book demonstrates that genetics provide only so much protection against disease. Indeed, the authors often remind us that when younger Okinawans pick up Western habits, their rates of obesity, illness, and life expectancy start to match ours as well. Clearly, when it comes to longevity, healthy lifestyle habits will out. That said, the major message of The Okinawa Program is that we can easily adopt the life-lengthening strategies that have served the Okinawans so well for generations. To that end, the authors pack chapters with suggestions for following "The Way," from eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet packed with fiber and complex carbohydrates (cooking up the book's more than 80 recipes is a start) and learning tai chi to finding time to meditate and relax, developing one's spirituality, doing volunteer work, and building a solid network of friends and family. Rounding out the book, the authors pull their key recommendations into a comprehensive yet doable four-week plan that's meant to get you started. Following "The Way" isn't a free shot at immortality, but it certainly helps stack the deck in your favor. --Norine Dworkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Twin brothers Bradle and D. Craig Willcox, an internist and anthropologist, respectively, and geriatrician Suzuki, fascinatingly recount the results of a 25-year study of Okinawa, where people live exceptionally long and productive lives. There are more than 400 centenarians in Okinawa, where the average lifespan is 86 for women and above 77 for men. Most impressive is the quality of life Okinawans maintain into old age; the book is filled with inspiring glimpses of elderly men and women who are still gardening, working and walking into and well beyond their 90s. The authors point out that while genetics may account, in part, for Okinawans' longevity, studies have revealed that when they move away from the archipelago and abandon their traditional ways, they lose their health advantage, proving that lifestyle is, at the very least, a highly influential factor. The Okinawans' program of diet, exercise and spiritual health apparently lowers their risk for heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's, as well as breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers. According to the authors, "the Okinawan Way" is neither elusive nor esoteric. It consists, in part, of a low-calorie, plant-based, high complex-carbohydrate diet. Exercise, the authors maintain, is essential, as is attention to spirituality and friendships. Okinawans, too, lead slower-paced, less stressful lives than most Westerners. The outcome of years of extensive medical research, this book offers a practical and optimistic vision of growing old. (May)Forecast: An eight-city author tour, plus advertising in New Age, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the New Age trade press, should bring this book the attention and sales it deserves.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
In Ogimi, a pleasant small village typical of northern Okinawa, a stone welcome marker stands near the beach. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Dec 4 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is incredible. It always amazed me that so many people in a country like ours, with the latest medical technology, are so sickly and have so many ongoing, chronic health problems. Well, this book gives the answers. In an easy to understand style, it emphasizes the importance of healthy eating (less meat, avoiding fad diets), exercise, and inner peace. I especially liked the part about the strong yet easygoing personalities of the centurians, and how their spirituality contributed to their long lives. It made me realize how totally screwed up our lives are, despite the latest technological advances, and how much we need to slow things down, learn to relax, and rely on discipline and our own power rather than neglecting our health and then relying on advanced medicine to fix it. It was refreshing to learn that the health problems of old age are not inevitable - we can combat them, and live long and happy lives. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1 2002
Format: Hardcover
This letter is in response to some misunderstandings from a couple of previous reviewers about levels and types of fat in the Okinawa diet. Before I get into my comments on the Okinawa diet I would like to say that I am a professional nurse/educator/nutrition researcher from Okinawa (born and raised) who also spent some time in the United States (California). My comments regarding the Okinawa diet are based on my professional experience involved in nutrition and other health education/research.I have worked with (or know) many nutritional researchers in Okinawa and am familiar with the nutritional research literature on diet and longevity as well. I think I can understand why some American reviewers have mistaken the Okinawa diet as �ghigh fat�h, as we like to use vegetable oil in most of our stir-fry cooking (called champuru) and there has been increasing fat intake in Okinawa and the rest of post-war Japan which has resulted in large generational differences. Here are the facts according to nutritional authorities in Okinawa and Japan:
1)The Okinawa diet itself (1998) contained 31% total energy from fat, 52.9% carbohydrate and 16% protein (Japan National Nutrition Survey 1998). Compared to mainland Japan this is higher in fat (26.3% vs 31%) but compared to America it is still lower. (According to USDA Food Consumption Surveys total fat intake has fallen from 40% to 33% between 1977 and 1994).
2)Total Fat is NOT really that much of an issue as there are �ggood fats�h and �gbad fats�h . As Dr. Walter Willet�fs (Harvard University) 1994 article in Science titled:�hWhat Should We Eat?�h shows, the 1960�fs Greeks consumed even more fat (40% total) than we do now in Okinawa, but still had low cardiovascular mortality because they were consuming the �ggood fats�h (ie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By susan michaels on Oct. 9 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the BEST health book I have ever read and one of the nicest benefits of eating this way is the weight (mostly FAT!!) that I have lost. I have been heavy all my life. My doctor told me it was genetic and that I am "big-boned" (whatever that means)and that I should just be happy with my weight but I just couldn't accept that. I tried the Atkins Diet and lost 20 pounds but I felt weak, tired and cranky and nearly bit my husband's head off on several occasions. I cried when I gained every pound back within 2 weeks, when I went off the Atkin's diet, it was SO discouraging. I have tried EVERY diet you can think of, from low fat to low carb but nothing seemed to work until I found the Okinawa Program. The best thing was that I didn't feel hungry or deprived despite eating fewer calories and I feel and look so much better. Even cellulite from my thighs has disappeared and that has NEVER happened for me before. Perhaps even better is that I have kept the weight off for 6 months now and there seems to be a stronger bond between my husband, my family and me. I think it's because I FINALLY FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF! My doctor could not believe it when he saw how I look now and is now recommending the Okinawa Program to ALL his patients.
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Format: Paperback
I read the review by John Granger on August 19, 2003 called "Good Program but Not Okinawan". It was hard to believe that he and I are talking about the same book or that he actually lived in Okinawa since his review seemed so ill informed.
I have studied nutrition and met many of the healthy elders in Okinawa and indeed still live there. My guess is that he never got off the US Army base and met any of the healthy elders or travelled to the northern villages to see the natural beauty of Okinawa and share meals and stories with the elders. If he had he would have noticed that the lifestyle described in the Okinawa Program still exists but mostly in those healthy elders.
It is based in the philosphy of "nuchi gusui" which can be loosely translated as "food is medicine." I can't tell you how often I have heard that phrase since coming to this beautiful place. The point the Drs. Willcox and Suzuki were making was to emulate the lifestyle of the elders- not that of the youth in Okinawa.
Regarding longevity, it is well known among the Japanese that the Okinawans not only have more healthy centenarians but a longer life expectancy in general--that's precisely why there are so many centenarians. The oldsters just keep on going. It is also well known in Japan that Okinawa has what is called a U-turn migration pattern. People leave but they come back so lack of younger age groups in the population doesn't explain the high percentage of centenarians either. Also there is no longer a mass migration outward as in the old days (which would actualy have lowered the numbers of people who might have lived to one hundred) so that doesn't explain it either.
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