Live long and prosper

Good morning everyone,

This hot and humid weather is going to continue all week...in fact, they are calling for highs of 34C every day for the next 7 days...so to help you out with describing the weather, here are some other words/phrases you can use to describe this weather...muggy, sultry, sticky, steamy, oppressive, stifling, suffocating, stuffy, soupy, heavy, fuggy, like a Turkish bath, like a sauna.

Japan has long been known as a country with one of the longest average lifespans. Quite often the oldest people in the world are Japanese, including the oldest woman who died at the age of 117 in 2015, and the oldest man who died at 116 in 2013.

The average lifespan for Japanese women is 87.14 years, and for Japanese men is 80.98 years, the highest ever for both.

▼ Sorry, men.

While those numbers may not be as high as the centenarians who made it past age 100, they’re still quite impressive. Here’s how the top five locations look when ranked:

Women
1. Hong Kong (87.34)
2. Japan (87.14)
3. France (85.42)
4. Spain (85.40)
5. Korea (85.20)

Men
1. Hong Kong (81.32)
2. Japan (80.98)
3. Cyprus (80.90)
4. Iceland (80.70)
5. Switzerland (80.70)

And while we only have data from previous years to work with for other countries, here’s how some English-speaking nations compare:

Women
Australia (84.8)
Canada (84.1)
U.K. (83.0)
U.S.A. (81.6)

Men
Australia (80.9)
Canada (80.2)
U.K (79.4)
U.S.A. (76.9)

So what gives? Why is Japan’s life expectancy so high-particularly for women?

According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the higher life expectancy is due to medical advancements helping lower deaths caused by cancer and other ailments. But that’s only half the story. What do Japanese people specifically do that makes them beat out other countries? My particular theory is that a lot less women in Japan and Hong Kong work outside of the home. That explains why the gap between women is far greater than the gap between men.

There are a lot of other theories: Japanese people walk more and sit less than people in other countries, they sleep less than people in other countries, or even that they squat when they poop more than people in other countries.

But for most Western people the most convincing theory is the Japanese diet. Of course individual diets vary, but just like we’re talking about the average life expectancy, the average Japanese diet is healthier than other countries’ on the list. Having vegetables as a staple part of every meal, consuming lots of nutrient-rich seafood, drinking bowel-improving tea, having non-sugar-laden breakfasts, spooning up cancer-preventing miso soup, and overall eating smaller portions of everything all comes together in a bunch of small ways that really add up over the period of several decades.

How about you? What's your theory about the long life expectancy in Japan?

Have a great day!


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