NHK “Super Presentation” - The secret to living longer may be your social life -


Beauty & Health

NHK Education TV program “Super Presentation” introduces selected presentations from TED Conference. I also sometimes watch it if I am interested in the subject.


In the last week’s program, the presentation “The secret to living longer may be your social life” by a developmental psychologist, Susan Pinker, was introduced. The keyword is “Blue Zones”, which means the five areas where people live statistically longest. By the way,
there is a Blue Zone in Japan, too. It is Okinawa. The term “Blue Zones” appeared by National Geographic magazine in 2005. But now, unfortunately, the average longevity of Okinawa residents is decreasing.


Susan Pinker (Photo from the official website of NHK “Super Presentation”)


A Blue Zone, Sardinia, Italy, where there are 6 times as many centenarians as the Italian mainland. There are 10 times as many centenarians as there are in North America.
According to Susan Pinker, it is regardless of their nature optimistic or food and it is because their relationships with other people are close and they often meet people in person.


Also, in the presentation, there was the following data, which was very interesting.
[What reduces your chances of dying the most?]
*Going from the least powerful predictor to the strongest.
10.Clean Air         
9.Hypertension Rx      
8.Lean vs. Overweight 
6.Cardiac Rehab
5.Flu Vaccine  
4.Quit Boozing           
3.Quit Smoking
2.Close Relationships  
1.Social Integration


I didn’t expect that having a flu vaccine protects you more than doing exercise. And, the strongest predictor is social integration. This means how much you interact with people.
But it’s not the same thing as interacting through text or via social media. Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters, and like a vaccine, they protect you now in the present and well into the future.


That means loneliness may be a great enemy to live a long life.
This face-to-face contact provides stunning benefits, yet now almost a quarter of the population says they have no one to talk to. Speaking of loneliness, I heard that Britain's prime minister announced the country will appoint a minister of loneliness the other day.


The power of such face-to-face contact is really why there are the lowest rates of dementia among people who are socially engaged, bolsters the immune system and helps us live longer. Therefore, Japan also should be serious about such issues. (H.S)