Friday, September 21, 2007

Worlds oldest man

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.


Margaret Pace said...

Tanabe may be the oldest living man, but he is not the oldest living person. That honor goes to a woman, who is also Japanese. Yone Minagawa, 114, was born Jan. 4, 1893.

That should tell you something... Women are stronger, healthier, more intelligent, better looking, and better representatives of the human race.
(Just kidding).

Sara B said...

The correlation of his healthy life style choices and age is proof that he’s doing something right!! That is amazing.

Spencer Thornton, M.D. said...

Genetics may account for the potential for longevity, but the realization of that potential is at least partly dependent upon healthy lifestyle choices.

The correlation may not be absolute, but the evidence of a relationship is compelling. Better health by avoidance of tobacco and drugs - and moderation in all things. I agree with Sara.

Cara said...

But are the people in Japan happy. We may drink and smoke in America but we know how to have a good time.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...


I can promise you that dying of smoking related lung cancer is NOT "having a good time."

It's important to note that the world's oldest man also lived a rural lifestyle before and after WWII. He ate a reduced calorie diet from fruit and vegetables that he grew himself. He consumed no trans-fats or hormone heavy beef, very little sugar and no alcohol. He also stayed physically and mentally fit by working hard on his dairy farm, and reading and writing poetic Haikus.

This does not at all mirror the typical overly-indulged American lifestyle.

Until the American medical model starts to focus on preventing degenerative diseases, which would allow us to live longer, doing what we like to do, why would any of us aspire to live to 112-tied to a chair in a nursing home, which is how most Americans can expect to live the final years of their lives if we don't start making better lifestyle choices and putting more emphasis on preventing chronic degenerative disease.

Tom said...

Cara, you must be a blonde.