Numerous studies on centenarians have been carried out around the world. Centenarians are the expression of exceptional individual longevity and examples of healthy ageing. Population longevity has received less interest among scientists, and even less in the media. In the framework of the activities linked to the International Database on Longevity, a population with exceptional longevity has been identified in Sardinia. The term “Blue Zone” given to an area defined as a limited region where the population shares a common lifestyle and environment and whose exceptional longevity has been accurately verified. So far, four “Blue Zones” have been identified around the world: a mountainous region of Sardinia; Okinawa in Japan; the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica; and the island of Ikaria in Greece. By identifying areas where people live the longest and comparing the characteristics of their inhabitants, the search for longevity determinants could be improved, as most people concerned are born and live in the same place and are therefore more likely to share the same genetic make-up, early life conditions, and traditional behaviours. The Blue Zones Community Project, an attempt to transfer the longevity lessons observed in Blue Zone populations to improve the health status and well-being of local communities in the US, is presented and discussed.
- Blue Zones