How to live to 101.

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About this work


This documentary looks at why some people manage to live to be over 100. Brothers Craig and Bradley Willcox visit the remote island of Okinawa, Japan, where there are over 900 centenarians. It appears that hormone DHEA which usually drops as people get older, drops very slowly in Okinawians. This seems to be linked to diet, not only the healthy foods that they eat but also that the have a saying 'eat until you are only 80% full'. The Willcox brothers believe this kind of caloric restriction is what keeps the Okinawians young for so long. Sardinia also has many centenarians, a fact which Professor Luca Deiana has been studying for his entire life. He believes that there are genetic reasons for living longer and has identified the enzyme G6PD. In Loma Linda, California, Dr. Ellsworth Wareham at 92-years-old is still working as a successful open heart surgeon. He doesn't feel his healthy old age is due to genes but to his being a Seventh Day Adventist which involves no drinking or smoking, taking regular exercise, having a vegetarian diet but also having lower stress levels, perhaps due to their religious faith. In fact, low stress levels are the common link between all communities which have a longer life expectancy; those who age most successfully seem to have a clear sense of the enjoyment of life. Meanwhile in Glasgow life expectancy is the lowest in the whole of Europe with male life expectancy is 57 in many areas; Chris Packard is studying families living there who have a particularly low life expectancy - is this down to diet, smoking and alcohol consumption? Dr. Packard thinks that due to the poverty and disease prevalent in Glasgow in the early 20th century the inflammatory response is high in Glaswegians and that this can lead to ill-health. Many Okinawans moved to Honolulu and the third generation are showing signs of ill-health which mirrors that of average Westerners, in fact in many cases it is worse as their bodies are not used to the abundance of food available to the West.


UK : BBC 2, 2008.

Physical description

1 DVD (50 min.) : sound, color.


Copyright note



Broadcast on 19 February, 2008.




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