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Here is an article mentioning 2 vegetarians aged 103 & 93 respectively who are featured in a new book from National Geographic, "The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest."

Living strong

Longevity book puts light on Loma Linda

Stephen Wall, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 04/12/2008 11:09:08 PM PDT

Marge Jetton, who is 103 years old and exercises five or six days a week, uses 5-pound weights in her Loma Linda home as a part of her healthy Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle. (Eric Reed/Staff Photographer)LOMA LINDA - Marge Jetton rises from her recliner and quickly heads out the door.
It's just past sunset.

She has already walked a mile, lifted weights and pedaled six miles on a stationary bike today.

She's in no mood to slow down.

"I'll show you how fast I can go," Jetton calls out to a visitor trying to keep up with her as she walks down the hall.

At age 103, Jetton feels as good as ever.

"Praise the Lord," she says with a smile.

Dr. Ellsworth Wareham is also thankful. The 93-year-old still works as an open-heart surgeon.

Jetton and Wareham have drawn the attention of researchers curious about their longevity.

They are both profiled in a new book from National Geographic, "The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest."

Author and explorer Dan Buettner uncovers the secrets of the Blue Zones - four geographic regions where small populations are living remarkably long, full lives.

Buettner and a team of researchers unearthed four longevity hot spots: the Barbaria region of Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; and the community of Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda.

In each region, Buettner and his crew found that people reach age 100 at rates significantly higher than the rest of us, and on average, live longer, healthier lives. They also suffer from only a fraction of the killer diseases common in most of the United States.

Buettner quotes research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, showing that the average Adventist in California lives four to 10 years longer than the average Californian.

Adventists live longer because they don't smoke or drink and because they eat a healthy, low-fat, vegetarian diet rich in nuts and beans, according to researchers.

About 9,000 Adventists live in and around Loma Linda, giving it the highest concentration of Adventists in the world, Buettner said.

"We have good science that shows that Adventists who live in and around Loma Linda have a significantly higher life expectancy than Americans in general," said Buettner, a Minnesota native who is not an Adventist.

Adventists' extended life spans also are attributed to their religious beliefs. They tend to be faithful churchgoers and have cohesive social networks, he said.

"Because Sabbath is Saturday, they are a bit isolated, so they tend to hang out with each other," Buettner said. "Who you hang out with has a profound impact on what your habits are."

The Saturday Sabbath in Loma Linda is a "subtly powerful habit" that contributes to improved health, he said.

"For 24 hours, these people turn it all off, no matter how busy or how stressed they are," Buettner said. "When you go from being stressed to not stressed, your body literally changes."

Modest and regular physical activity also increases longevity, lowering the risk of heart disease as well as breast and colon cancers, according to the book.

Local Adventists try their best to adhere to the recommendations of their faith.

Wareham gets up before dawn two or three times a week and drives to Los Angeles area hospitals to help perform open-heart surgeries.

Wareham, who started the cardiac surgery program at Loma Linda University Medical Center in the 1950s, is not a primary surgeon anymore. He is the first or second assistant, performing minor parts of the operation.

Besides staying busy with work, Wareham sticks to a vegan diet that forbids animal products.

He also grows vegetables and landscapes his large hillside lot in the south end of town.

"I tell my wife not to hire anyone to do things that require physical labor because I'll do them," said Wareham.

He still finds the operating room an "energizing and stimulating" place.

"I'm no paragon of righteousness," Wareham said. "I just work at it like everybody else. I think everybody can develop good habits. I think you start with one good habit at a time."

Responses (1)

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    Posted by Katylynn2000 at 05/09/08 11:14:46

    That is super heart warming - I could not imagine my 75 year old grandmother rollin' around let alone performing surgeries!

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