A man who’s traveled around the world for National Geographic will be visiting Iowa next month to share “the secrets to a long and happy life.” Dan Buettner’s presentation includes photos of what he calls “Blue Zones” – or the locations around the globe where he’s found humans are “healthiest and happiest.”
Buettner says he recently tested some of his methods for adding “quantity and quality” to people’s lives in Albert Lea, Minnesota. “We raised (Albert Lea residents’) life expectancy by about three years, we lowered their health care costs by 40 percent and everybody lost weight,” Buettner said. “I’m going to talk a little bit about this vitality project in Albert Lea and I think the people in Iowa will see very clearly, ‘we can do that here.'”
Buettner says Iowa already has a high concentration of elderly residents, but that’s due in part to a population shift.”Part of it is the good, clean living of our grandparents. Our grandparents really have something to teach us about living longer,” Buettner said. “But, part of it is that younger people tend to leave rural cities and leave a higher concentration of the very old.”
Running marathons and taking vitamins aren’t necessarily the key to healthy living, according Buettner. He says studies have shown people who eat just two ounces of nuts four times a week live up to three years longer than those who don’t eat nuts. And people who claim to wake up in the morning with “a sense of purpose” tend to live seven years longer.
“So, a lot of the things we think make us live longer – like supplements or weight watcher programs – really don’t have any effect at all and there are a lot of small things that really add up to helping us a lot,” Buettner said.
Buetter, who appeared as a regular guest on the Oprah Winfrey show, is scheduled to speak in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, June 16 from 7 to 8 p.m. The event is free at the Cedar Rapids Marriott (1200 Collins Road NE).