Tomoji Tanabe, celebrated his 112th birthday last week (Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007) in the southern Japanese city of Miyakonojo, in Miyazaki prefecture. Born Sept. 18, 1895, Tanabe was named world's oldest man after the death of the Puerto Rican Emiliano Mercado Del Toro, who died aged 115 last January.
How did he do it? Tanabe is a former city land surveyor who lives with his son and daughter-in-law. He is in good health and is a milk drinker. He also keeps a diary, avoids alcohol, and does not smoke. He believes his lifelong avoidance of alcohol has led to his good health and longevity, and he remains active by working in his dairy and taking walks near his home.
Japan has one of the world's longest average life spans, and the growing number of Japanese centenarians is often attributed to the nation’s traditional diet rich in fish and rice. But part of the reason may be an overall improvement of the Japanese diet, with greater emphasis on variety of foods with more attention to vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Exercise is also important in the Japanese lifestyle.
The number of Japanese living beyond 100 has more than quadrupled in the past 15 years, with the once-exclusive centenarian club soon expected to surpass 28,000, the government has announced. The increase underscores both positive and negative sides of the country's aging population. While experts say there are more active centenarians than ever before, the rapidly graying population adds to concerns over Japan's overburdened public pension system.
The increasing longevity in Japan may be due to several factors, including, in addition to the traditional diet of fish and rice, the growing popularity of multivitamins, minerals and antioxidants, in addition to regular exercise.
We could all learn from the Japanese.